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Co-production mindset to help shape improvements

We are feeling a buzz around co-production from our services and partner organisations. There is desire to work in partnership with patients, people and communities to improve services, co-deliver service provision and for people to be an integrated part of healthcare. As an Academy we want to support this by creating opportunities for teams to come together to learn and shape services through co-production and improvement approaches.


We also wanted to grow our understanding and experiences of co-production, so we set out to produce a ‘co-production programme’ for a team to come together. Forming a working group of patients and people who have worked with Solent’s services in partnership and Partnership Facilitators within Solent’s Child and Family Services. This group is aiming to live and learn the co-production values of Assets, Catalysts, Mutuality, Blur roles and Networks.


During #CoproWeek2023, we have day two of the co-production programme. Six teams are coming together to gain knowledge and skills around co-production and improvement. A key element of this programme is helping each other to build relationships and approaches to co-produce their specific area.


When designing the programme as a co-production working group, we discussed how co-production is built around principles and values. You can’t pick up a book, model or framework and just follow it. This is what we really cherish and find enriching about co-production but recognise the challenges and uncertainly this can bring when starting out. This led us to consider ‘is there a way of thinking or a mindset’ for co-production, which would help with improving healthcare. Mindset being a way of thinking rather than a tool or method and whether this thinking would benefit the attendees of the programme to apply and achieve co-production.


So, we did some searching to see what was already known about mindset for co-production. We found many thoughts on mindsets and in particular the work by KA McKercher (2020) on Doing co-designing for real. This talks about six mindsets for co-designing and these are described as:


These mindsets resonated with us as a group, reflecting that many of our behaviours and approaches had aimed to optimise these points, but also how this isn’t always our strength to have these mindsets in healthcare when making improvements to services.


During Day one of the co-production programme, we shared the brain mindsets poster and used some of the questions and tools from KA McKercher (2020). This helped the teams to consider and reflect on their own mindset and what this meant for the areas they are working towards and how they would work in partnership with people.


Our search on mindsets also led us to the discover the story of ‘A Holly or a Wally?' This video shows the contrast of approaches and mindset of well intentional professionals in designing community green spaces. Holly and Wally shows why mindset matters, and the difference co-production can make.


If you are starting out, wanting to, or are already using co-production then we would recommend exploring the mindset for co-production. We found it helped us as individuals, as teams and as a working group when aiming to co-produce. It isn’t about having a perfect mindset for co-production but knowing where you are coming from, your thoughts and how you could maximise working in partnership with patients, people and communities to improve healthcare by exploring this together.


By Carl Adams, Head of People Participation. If you'd like to find out more about working alongside patients and people to improve our services, please email: involvement@solent.nhs.uk

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