| Helen Sharp
There is now a growing movement of people in the UK with a hunger to transform the way we do things.
I came to the world of co-production and social action during my time as a commissioner for Lambeth Council. I was immensely lucky to be able to work with the New Economics Foundation as I tried to transform the way we commissioned from using tightly defined output driven processes to taking a step back, focusing on outcomes and letting co-production lead the way. I was one of the first to take my team out of the office and into the community to meet parents and young people and really welcome and take heed of all they contributed, something we should have done years ago.
I’ve left Lambeth having cut my co-production teeth and am now, again, lucky enough to spend my time supporting many other commissioners and practitioners, trying to do what we did but not knowing where to start or how to make it happen and crucially, how to get beyond that tokenistic consultation. Often they are challenged at every step, surrounded by the scepticism of peers and senior leaders and working within an unkind system which does not appreciate them or their different approach.
There is now a growing movement of people in the UK with a hunger to transform the way we do things. However, most of us don’t know about each other and many people are trying to do this on their own, committed to their convictions but without any expert support. Co-production, collaboration, asset-based thinking, all those approaches which will transform the way we work, are scary and messy and often fly in the face of our structured, strategic and risk averse leadership.
We need each other to help us be brave, learn from each other and challenge ourselves to push our thinking and work to the limits.
This Ideas Hub is one way in which we can connect with each other, growing the movement until it becomes so strong and confident that the unkind system has to change to accommodate us. We will be showing you where else it’s happening, sharing stories and linking you with that much sought-after evidence. The Ideas Hub will be a living space from which you can share and grow.
And this won’t just be a showcasing Hub; it will also get beyond the spin and celebrate the many challenges and failures which will help us learn for the future. The best way in which this Ideas Hub can support you is by you being a part of it. So dive in – and let us take some of the weight that’s holding you down.
If you have a great story or great idea – get in touch! We want to hear your story.
Please feel free to share and comment on this blog by clicking on the icons below! And we are always looking for new ideas, people, stories and contributors so if you have something to share, please don’t hesitate to email us.