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Reflecting on The Children’s Society learning journey through the pandemic

Discover how the Children's Society has navigated the pandemic and using its learning to improve what it does and how it is tackling new issues

Discover how to use learning to help reinvent and renew services & ways of working in this new environment

Speaking will be Nerys Anthony – Director of National Operation and Adam Groves, The Children’s Society’s Design Lead.

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Reflecting on The Children’s Society learning journey through the pandemic

  1. 1. Reflecting on our learning journey during COVID 18 September 2020
  2. 2. Page 2 Who we are
  3. 3. Page 3 "The people of Great Britain have had enough of experts" Michael Gove We are not pretending to be experts. We're sharing what we did... we welcome your critical feedback.
  4. 4. Page 5 We're presenting lots of people's hard work Also on the team... Gemma Drake Chloe Dennis-Green Helen Dudzinska Ellen Fruijtier
  5. 5. Page 6 Not this kind...
  6. 6. Page 7 Accelerating Impact Team - Service design - Youth work - Systems change
  7. 7. Page 8 Context for this work
  8. 8. Page 9 “The way that you change the system is intervening around the edge, doing little projects [to] tweak the system... and then the big thing changes - hopefully, at some point - but unfortunately you never know really in advance when that’s going to happen.”​ John Thackara
  9. 9. Page 10 “Ask someone what happened during a high intensity, rapidly moving situation from a month ago. I’d bet they will put together a ‘story’ that represents a logical, ordered sequence of events that match the actions and outcomes they think happened.” Chris Bolton whatsthepont.com This presentation won’t fully escape this trap.
  10. 10. Page 11 • What are services doing differently to support young people? • Who influences whether new ways of working are introduced within services, and how? • How are organisational behaviours and practices changing? • What do we value? How have our priorities shifted and what are we letting go of?
  11. 11. Page 12 The goal was to enable colleagues to identify – and then consciously nurture and grow – the values, mindsets and practices which might help us do a better job of supporting young people in future.
  12. 12. Page 13 A confession? We didn't know where the learning would take us. There was no masterplan to achieve our goal.
  13. 13. Page 14 What we did (a whistle-stop tour)
  14. 14. Page 15 Prompted self-reflections Collected on Microsoft forms
  15. 15. Page 16
  16. 16. Page 17 Collective learning Page 17
  17. 17. Observation Page 18
  18. 18. Page 19 Data analysis Page 19 More face-to-face support resumes (also staff holidays). Certain areas leaning into new ways of working. Why?
  19. 19. Page 20 Project weeknotes Each week we shared • What we’ve done • What we’ll do next week • What we saw and heard • What we’re mulling over • Things to celebrate (sent to all participants, and posted on internal social network)
  20. 20. Prompted self-reflections April May June July Aug Sept CYP Participation Leads meetings Observations (shadowing) Synthesis workshop Support for teams with momentum Three Horizons Workshops (5 ELT) SLT sense-making workshops (30+) Strategy process CYP staff survey
  21. 21. April May June July Aug Sept How the work evolved Why? Partly design Partly necessity Partly chance Partly mistakes Wanted to be relevant to colleagues. (not extractive / escalated in a report)
  22. 22. Page23 What did we learn?
  23. 23. Page 24 Reflecting on our approach
  24. 24. Intensity of the work Page 25 MORE IN OUR TEAM'S CONTROL LESS IN OUR TEAM'S CONTROL WENT LESS WELL WENT WELL Avenues for hearing from young people Service engagement Mix of methods and data Efforts to be 'open' (internal & external) Mobilising to support service teams Permission to do the work Leadership Engagement and support We started with 3yrs of insight and relationships Weekly synthesis of what we were hearing Sometimes sign-off felt slow for work w/ ELT. Embedding reflective practice CELEBRATE THANK PEOPLE FIX NEXT TIME ESCALATION / SYSTEMS CHANGE
  25. 25. Intensity of the work Page 26 MORE IN OUR TEAM'S CONTROL LESS IN OUR TEAM'S CONTROL WENT LESS WELL Avenues for hearing from young people Service engagement Mix of methods and data Efforts to be 'open' (internal & external) Mobilising to support service teams Permission to do the work Leadership Engagement and support We started with 3yrs of insight and relationships Weekly synthesis of what we were hearing Sometimes sign-off felt slow for work w/ ELT. Embedding reflective practice CELEBRATE THANK PEOPLE FIX NEXT TIME ESCALATION / SYSTEMS CHANGE WENT WELL
  26. 26. Intensity of the work Page 27 MORE IN OUR TEAM'S CONTROL LESS IN OUR TEAM'S CONTROL WENT LESS WELL Avenues for hearing from young people Service engagement Mix of methods and data Efforts to be 'open' (internal & external) Mobilising to support service teams Permission to do the work Leadership Engagement and support We started with 3yrs of insight and relationships Weekly synthesis of what we were hearing Sometimes sign-off felt slow for work w/ ELT. Embedding reflective practice CELEBRATE THANK PEOPLE FIX NEXT TIME ESCALATION / SYSTEMS CHANGE WENT WELL
  27. 27. Intensity of the work Page 28 MORE IN OUR TEAM'S CONTROL LESS IN OUR TEAM'S CONTROL WENT LESS WELL Avenues for hearing from young people Service engagement Mix of methods and data Efforts to be 'open' (internal & external) Mobilising to support service teams Permission to do the work Leadership Engagement and support We started with 3yrs of insight and relationships Weekly synthesis of what we were hearing Sometimes sign-off felt slow for work w/ ELT. Embedding reflective practice CELEBRATE THANK PEOPLE FIX NEXT TIME ESCALATION / SYSTEMS CHANGE WENT WELL
  28. 28. Intensity of the work Page 29 MORE IN OUR TEAM'S CONTROL LESS IN OUR TEAM'S CONTROL WENT LESS WELL Avenues for hearing from young people Service engagement Mix of methods and data Efforts to be 'open' (internal & external) Mobilising to support service teams Permission to do the work Leadership Engagement and support We started with 3yrs of insight and relationships Weekly synthesis of what we were hearing Sometimes sign-off felt slow for work w/ ELT. Embedding reflective practice CELEBRATE THANK PEOPLE FIX NEXT TIME ESCALATION / SYSTEMS CHANGE WENT WELL
  29. 29. Page 30 7 principles (that worked for us)
  30. 30. Page 31 1. Be relevant and useful Act on needs and opportunities where you see them. Build on momentum where it exists, rather than attempting to abstract it into a report or transport it elsewhere. 5. Work at multiple levels …but don’t stay in your (organisation’s) comfort zone. Seek insight from multiple levels and parts of the organisation. Different perspectives yield richer, challenging insights. 2. Radiate intent Don’t assume permission but model the bravery you love to see in others. Where you see a good opportunity, pitch to act on it. Use feedback to understand if the opportunity exists. 6. Work in the open Share your work and learning as widely as possible. Draw on any attention your work receives to seek feedback and to build momentum. Where you can, show don’t tell. 3. Start small and test You cannot ‘masterplan’ work in a complex context. Look for opportunities to test the value of your approach. See what comes back, and then take your next steps. 7. Use simple language Try to let go of jargon. It alienates people. Speak like a normal person. 4. Go where the energy is Recognise the value of existing groups and forums. Frame asks in ways that respect people’s expertise and experience – affirm people’s professional identities where possible…
  31. 31. Page 32 Some (possible) questions for breakout groups... What resonated, if anything? What else is important to consider in your experience? Anything you would particularly like to ask us?* *feel free to also send us questions via Twitter after this session.
  32. 32. We’d welcome feedback, questions, suggestions, critiques…etc. via Twitter: @adgro @nerysanthony

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