A process of discovery

Victoria Betton


The first two days of advent were less about chocolate and more a journey of discovery for five clinical teams from Leeds Community Healthcare NHS Trust (LCH).  Supported by a willing and able combination of patients, creatives, industry and academics, the teams used service design thinking to explore problems and prototype digital solutions.

The Discovery Days were designed and facilitated by the mHealthHabitat Team and LCH Service Improvement team and we invited others to join us in creating clever solutions to tricky problems over the course of a day and a half at the Open Data Institute.

But the process of discovery didn’t start and finish in the space of those two days – we believe it is critical that activities like this happen within a context rather than a vacuum. The process began months before with a call for clinical services to pitch us intransigent problems that they wanted help to work through. We required those problems to align with the strategic priorities of the organisation to help us focus our efforts where we know we will create the most value.

Once we’d sifted and agreed which services should participate in the Discovery Days, we spent time preparing teams and encouraging them to bring key stakeholders – ranging from patients to parents to teachers. Our public call for people to pitch in and help meant we had invaluable insights from people fresh to the problems that services are facing. We are strong believers that innovation emerges from diverse connections and different perspectives – and that was confirmed on the day.

Day two was completed with a ‘show and tell’ session with chief executive Thea Stein and operations director Sam Prince, alongside group reflections on the process. But that was only the beginning. Discovery Days are part of the catalyst section of our mHealthHabitat model and we will now support teams to incubate their ideas further.

You can find a fabulous set of photos and graphic illustrations from our Discovery Day on our Pinterest page and tweets curated on Storify. Here is some feedback from participants:

Really enjoyed the diversity of participants and had all questions answered…even those I didn’t realise I had … the construction and sounding out original ideas … how my thoughts of processes have evolved (clinician)

It was really useful to be able to get close to the professionals to get more information on their specialism (industry)

Excellent day. It’s exciting to be part of something that hopefully will become reality (patient)

Thank you to everyone who gave their time and support so generously, and particular thanks to LCH members, Aimee and her mum, who helped teams think about their innovations from a patient and member perspective.

Victoria Betton – Programme Director

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