Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Tim Harford at the Help the Hospices 2011 Conference

Tim Harford's  presentation followed Barbara Monroe's and carried on her themes of adaptation and working differently, that we need to value self criticism and move away from the "God complex" that we know best!

Tim's book Adapt  suggests that one should try at something small, be prepared for failure, and whilst our instinctive reaction might be denial, we should learn from our mistakes. The stronger the feedback loops are in an organisation the better it can learn and develop. He goes on to describe some very successful organisations that devolve more power and responsibility to managers and people at the front line rather than keep the power at the top, encouraging people to try different things.

Apparently Google expects 80% of its products to fail (although as Tim said they don't make parachutes). A recent example of this is the news that Google is dropping products that have failed to take off). The key must be that it can afford to take these risks and has a back up plan. Perhaps hospices should be better at trying out more variations of care. Tim recommended Testing Treatments as a guide for research. However he reminded us that generally we averse to trying things out and getting it wrong because we don't like loss. I am sure this might apply even more when working in hospice care and increases the need for managers to be skilled in supporting their staff in trying out new ideas.

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