Now, it is highly likely that this series of blogs on the spiral or, the emergent, cyclical, double-helix model of adult biopsychosocial systems development will damage any progress I have made in acquiring or retaining readers.
In an earlier posting I quoted Steve Jobs with his saying that simplicity is the ultimate sophistication; this is true of everything. The simpler the argument the deeper the truth and I worry that by sprinkling these seeds, across an area of which I am at best a novice I’m doing harm.
Yet, I can’t stop.
I can’t help myself.
From what I have so far taken away and understood, it has provided me with an insight into life that surpasses anything I have read or learned yet – putting Jesus, Freud, Marx, Darwin aside, Skinner, Berne, Rogers and the rest. It provides a useful lens through which to view people, behaviour and society.
I will therefore keep going.
Hopefully my introductory stories will help.
How did I veer into Yellow (yellow?) today?
Yellow is not the next stage of the spiral after Red (?red) which I described on Tuesday night; indeed there are three levels in-between which each need explaining in their turn, yet, sometimes it is necessary to jump ahead, to get an idea of where you are heading.
What is yellow?
Yellow is the developmental stage after green, which follows orange and blue.
Why am I focusing on yellow? Well, according to some theories it is the highest level represented within organisations or systems in the world today (there are levels of development/evolution after that (turquoise & coral), but the exponents are supposedly lone-wolves within the realm today of prophet/madman/philosopher).
It is also called ‘integrative’
It is where the level of human development is such that the complexity (or I guess, simplicity) of systems is self-evident; you see your destination and intuitively perceive that the way to arrive at that goal is not straightforward, indeed, you might learn that it is only a stepping-stone towards something else. You stop sweating the small stuff to use a business cliché.
How did I veer into this today?
Well, I attended an impromptu meeting with several wonderful colleagues to discuss a new innovation in education and training called ‘Project Echo’ – this is a global initiative based upon sound educational theories which aspires to spread learning and share good practice in an effective and cost-efficient way (using technology) amongst the greatest number of people possible.
The medium used is Zoom – online conferencing, although the technology is only part, it is pivotal; it is a platform that enables people to log-in to a lecture/discussion, I believe they can accommodate up to several hundred participants at any one time; the session is led by a facilitator and a presenter or subject matter expert provides a short, say 20 minute talk on a subject and then there are some other shorter discussions or presentations from those dialling in (who through the project function as a Wengerian Community of Practice) to share, broaden and perpetuate the learning; questions, answers and discussions then follow.
The result is an educational experience that can be accessed by anyone, anywhere;
So far, some of the hardest to reach groups in health and social care have been paramedics and care home staff; the former because they are always out and about saving lives and the latter because of the market model within which they exist (where education is not seen as important) and their dispersed geographical nature.
Ideally if you are an older person living in a nursing home and you are sick you would like to be tended by a carer who calls a paramedic, both of whom are up to date with all ideas and theories of treatment and support; unfortunately, in part because of our government’s obsession with austerity and societies norms (likely to be different in Norway or Sweden for example), education has frequently been squeezed to the margins and does not feature, often at all within the working lives of carers and only at great expense to paramedics, nurses, doctors, and all the others providing care.
Zoom is a way around this; you can sit in an ambulance at the depot and using your phone Zoom-in to a talk, the same can happen with a carer, social worker or pharmacist. None of them have to travel to a central venue for hours of didactic training that they forget on the way home. The training comes to you where you are, so long as you have Wi-Fi and a smartphone, laptop or tablet.
I have perhaps not done the ECHO system justice in my explanation and that is not really the point, more, the people in the room – there were five of us were all first passionate about care in its broad and deep sense and secondly, intuitively, took a humanistic approach to learning, in that people don’t learn because they can’t be bothered, indeed, most people, are hungry to learn so long as the experience isn’t painful (not boring, ineffective web-based click-throughs with tedious presenter for example) and is not inaccessible – you have to travel from Newcastle to London for a few snippets of irrelevant information at your own cost.
ECHO is 21st century in the way that Uber, Air B&B, Google and Buurtzorg have adopted technology and evolving human behaviours and patters of action; it could be a way to revolutionise all of training in health and social care (acknowledging that there is more than this, hands-on and face to face is still necessary, it is just that these are far more effective if you are hands-on with someone who has a basic appreciation of the theory beyond a textbook they have skimmed the night before).
Heck, this might even mean the end of my lectures on older people.
And back to the yellow.
Yellow is integrative, it is seeing that, just as the IHI’s Quadruple Aim of improving quality and accessibility at cost is noble, it is only feasible if you care for the carers, if you find joy at work and ensure that staff are not falling-down; look after the staff and they will want to care, neglect them and they will become exhausted and burnt-out.
I read yesterday about an old Croatian saying – don’t pay all your attention to the plant; support the soil and fruit will grow. You can build a palace for patients but if the staff are absent the care can’t happen.
The group all saw this intuitively.
There was rapid discussion and sharing of ideas for even though most of us had not met before, there was a shared, intuitive understanding of what matters, or where to focus; a mutual respect for the limitations of time and a passion for pushing through to do something that will influence change.
Ego didn’t enter the room.
Nor did self-interest, bravado or showmanship.
It was passion for care, raw in tooth and claw.
This is yellow; where people are able to understand that you can’t have winners and losers and still succeed; the only meaningful success is through mutual progression. We consider the planet, the wellbeing of our teams and our patients, we even take into account the needs of our masters with their budgets and targets to reach.
It becomes like a powerful game of chess where the moves seem to happen independently in a preordained, synchronous fashion.
I doubt I have done my meeting justice and I strongly suspect this blog will have confused more people than anything; apologies. This will make sense in the end (or now, if you have the DeLorean).
Thanks for listening and have a good day/evening.