Insights from Gill Phillips of ‘Whose Shoes?’

The ability to see the world through others’ eyes – to walk in their shoes – is arguably an essential co-production skill. It’s not, unfortunately, a skill which is regularly demonstrated by organisational leaders or senior professionals. In this informative and energising blog post, Gill Phillips (inventor of the superb ‘Whose Shoes?’ training game) reflects on her recent experience at the ‘Thought Diversity Hothouse‘ organised by NHS IQ and the NHS Confederation.
Inevitably, I wondered who would be in the room. I felt that, whoever they were, there would be accusations of them (us!) being the ‘usual suspects’. I don’t think they were. I’m not quite sure who the ‘usual suspects’ are at an event of this kind but ‘my table’ had a lead from a CCG, someone from the police, a CEO from a Foundation Trust, an equality activist and other interesting roles… and me and Ken. It felt exciting that my friend and colleague Ken Howard was invited – a person living with dementia at a non-dementia specific event.
‘Chatham rules’ were to be observed and I thought this was only right. Fear seems to be a big part of the transformation to a new, more enlightened era of honesty and transparency in many quarters, so people needed to be able to speak out with freedom.
There was a poster inviting us to note down any elephants in the room. For me the biggest elephant seemed to be that some passionate people (and inevitably the room was full of passionate people) are really not very good at … listening. And until people listen, listen really deeply, and are prepared to think and behave differently themselves, nothing much will change.
I was glad to be there to support Ken to have a voice. I have never had to do this before but, to be fair, we have generally worked together at ‘dementia-specific’ events. This perhaps reinforced for me how ‘silo-ed’ things are. Ken is very charismatic, speaks huge common sense but in a quiet way. Any quieter voice in that room was going to struggle.

We need to hear the quietest voice in the room, and not just pay lip service to this.

Teacher spends two days as a student and is shocked at what she learns

“I have made a terrible mistake. I waited 14 years to do something that I should have done my first year of teaching: shadow a student for a day. It was so eye-opening that I wish I could go back to every class of students I ever had right now and change a minimum of ten things – the layout, the lesson plan, the checks for understanding. Most of it!”

We Are Witnessing a Crisis of Wellbeing at Work

David Lammy on the Huffington Post
“Ultimately, wellbeing evidence encourages us to rethink economic success. Progress is not just about ever-rising incomes, as the obsession with GDP figures implies – particularly if the lion’s share of this growth goes to the already well-off. It’s about giving everyone the security and stability of a decent job with a decent wage. And it’s no longer enough, if it ever was, to simply go for growth and hope that ‘a rising tide will lift all boats’. Instead, we need to address head-on the things that are really holding back national wellbeing: insecurity, poverty and inequality. It’s now more important than ever that we learn the lessons of the crisis and build a high wellbeing recovery.”

Network me this: myths of the networked state

By Zoe Jacob at Nesta
“The rise of the ‘networked State’ is not the collapse of statehood, nor the opposite of the free-market, but the acknowledgement that all social organisations are naturally precarious, and constantly re-negotiate complex arrangements of existing and emerging forces. If you want to see a place run by networks, stay here, and just look around.”

Talking about freedom rather than change

By Veena Vasista
“I’m no longer intent on giving rise to change. Instead, I’m intent on giving rise to freedom.” (…) “Living together differently requires changes; changes to our beliefs, assumptions and stories. In my experience, changes in these realms happen in different ways, through disciplined practices of acceptance, inquiry, surrender and conscious creativity.”