Collaboration Rules: Reflecting on the insightQ support and challenge pilot
Collaboration wins when it comes to quality improvement. The process of two or more people working together to achieve a common goal is usually where the magic happens.
Without other people’s involvement, it can be difficult to see beyond what we have always done. To see that there are other, better ways to achieve the same or greater success.
We’ve seen this work successfully for many years in our work in education; we built insightQ for the very purpose of allowing people within a single organisation to work together to undertake quality assurance and improvement activity.
The will but not always the way
In 2019, we set out to develop this further, recognising the will from many people in further education and skills to learn from one another but equally, the barriers to making it happen and sustaining the relationship.
“I just don’t have the time to travel around the country to meet people.”
“The cost and time to get there is a problem. We’re a small provider and can’t afford it.”
“I’d prefer to work with people outside of our area but that’s not always easy to find.”
“We all start with good intentions but the day job gets in the way and one or two people end up carrying the workload.”
“It can become a bit of a talking shop unless its structured well.”
“It needs to be part of the quality assurance cycle; not an additional thing to do.”
“We would like to have the opportunity for external critical review of our self assessment report.”
insightQ support and challenge partner pilot
I know we say it alot but we really do mean it. We have great clients. We have the sort of clients we can pick the phone up to and tell them we’ve got an idea and we need their help to see if it works. I’m extremely grateful to the six further education & skills providers of all different types and sizes, who were willing to test the model with us, helping us to explore the following questions:
Can the insightQ software platform help by providing:
- A cost-effective and impactful way to gain external scrutiny of your quality improvement activity as part of an ongoing cycle?
- A safe and trusted way to share good practice and ideas to inform quality improvement planning?
The partners chose to focus the pilot on their self assessment reports; seeking feedback on structure and validity of their evaluations. Each client allowed limited access to Evaluate (the module in insightQ that houses the SAR) to their support & challenge partner, with each partner providing written feedback online.
We met online three times during the process to check on progress and to review learning. The outcomes exceeded my expectations. All providers gaining from the valuable feedback provided by their reviewer, the opportunity to view another provider’s self assessment report and the sharing of good practice (including experiences during recent inspection visits) during our webinars together.
As a pilot group, we’re moving to stage 2; using the Enquire module to build action-learning sets together to explore key priorities identified as an outcome from self assessment.
I have a goal; that every insightQ client – including those not in England – has at least one practitioner involved in action learning activity with other providers using structured enquiries that we build together. We’ve found in our work outside of the UK, there are common challenges in education young adults and adults that we can explore together, learning from a global community rather than only looking to a closed community for the answers.
For me, this is our software platform being used at its best; impactful as a tool to bring people together to drive change through the sharing of great work and shared issues.
insightQ improvement partners
From April 2020 the partnership model will be expanded to all insightQ clients under the ‘improvement partner’ banner. We’ll take expressions of interest from April onwards to give us time to look at grouping providers based on their own priorities so we can get things moving. You’re welcome to join us if you think it can work for you too.
I look forward to updating you on phase two of our pilot group’s adventures into joint practitioner enquiries.