Feature articles

In-depth guest posts and articles on various sector topics.

Fit for the Future

Fit for the Future is a partnership project of Iriss and Scottish Care dedicated to inspiring better outcomes for older people by working with providers from the independent sector. The project worked with care homes and care at home providers in four areas - Argyll and Bute, Falkirk, North Lanarkshire and West Lothian - to support innovation and service redesign. Key areas such as outcomes, care in times of transition, community links and compassion were explored.

Listening… with more than our ears (Part 1)

What a year for Glasgow. Many of us felt the warmth and goodwill that animated the carnival atmosphere in the city during the Games, stretch beyond the referendum as a tangible urge to transcend the politics of competition, blame, beliefs and opinions. A welcome move away from ‘us and them’, towards just us, is visibly taking root and still the need to nurture our ability to communicate with openness, affection, wit and skill remains constant. It seems wise to meet this need with a broader, subtler definition of listening than we are used to.

Blogging as creativity

So. Blogging has (almost) come of age. Twenty years ago, a software developer in California ushered in a new era of communication. Dave Winer published his first blog post on 7 October 1994. He called his blog Davenet, and he’s been writing it most days since. And today he’s joined by many millions of bloggers worldwide.

Integration and the arts

Integration is at the top of many social care, housing and health professionals agendas which made me wonder about the role of the arts and artists the integration debate.

In my mind there are two forms of integration, service (or process) integration and workforce (or people) integration. It's the latter, rather than the former, where I think that the arts has much to offer.

DIY (Development Impact and You)

At Iriss we believe that innovation is not a practice reserved for 'the creative' or 'the experts' and that people innovate all the time. We focus on how to blend and adapt ideas to support social innovation and on how we need to accept risk and failure as central components of innovation. A toolkit - Development Impact and You - has been developed by Nesta in partnership with The Rockefeller Foundation to support and encourage social innovation.

More ideas on encouraging storytelling

More and more of my work revolves around storytelling. I lead Swansea Digital Storytelling (see swanseastorytelling.com ) and at least one day a week I train staff to make stories for the health service – this encompasses stories about things that have gone wrong as well as things that show best practice and stories of people’s personal journeys. I plan to share a number of ideas of how I encourage storytelling in Creative Quarter blogs over the next few months.

The importance of explaining yourself

There is a ‘Little Britain’ sketch that stands out for me and it is the one of the computer saying no, because it so cleverly and clearly explains what it can feel like for a customer/patient/user to be confronted with a job worth system. I feel the biggest reason most people make a complaint or become frustrated is not necessarily the decision that has been made, but rather that the decision has not been properly explained to them in a manner they understand.

Care Opinion

Care and support is something all of us will receive at some point in our lives. However, our experiences of that care are likely to vary. Some of them will be good and perhaps even excellent, and some might be dissatisfactory and disappointing. Opportunities to express opinions about these good and bad experiences are not always available. Services often have complaints procedures in place but people may not wish to formally complain: rather they might prefer to suggest a change to improve a service, or comment on very good or bad care. And that's where Care Opinion comes in.

Brain Pickings

If you believe creativity comes from many places then you may be interested in Brain Pickings, a blog by Maria Popova that enquires into many different aspects of life.

Maria dips into and weaves between aspects such as: literature, art, science, the environment, psychology, design, philosophy and many others.

Going undercover

Undercover Boss is one of my TV guilty pleasures. The premise of each episode is simple: the head of a large organisation leaves their ivory tower to go ‘undercover’ to find out what everyday life is like for frontline workers inside their organisation. This means rolling up their sleeves and pitching in to do the dirty jobs, as well as facing no-holds-barred feedback on what the company's doing right and what it needs to do better.

By the end of the show, the leader is humbled, often contrite, and certainly better educated and more appreciative. And I’m in tears.