Forward-thinkers in health and social care across the South West have been given an exclusive lesson in unleashing large-scale change at the first Spread Academy, launched by the South West Academic Health Science Network (SW AHSN) in partnership with the renowned US-based Billions Institute.
Over 80 professionals, including NHS leaders, a dietitian, and an ex-rocket engineer, were selected from a competitive application process to join the academy in Exeter, designed to equip leaders in health and care with the skills they need to spread and scale their ideas for change.
The Spread Academy is based on the Billions Institute’s highly successful and influential training programme Skid Row School, run in Los Angeles, California. Billions Institute co-founders Becky Margiotta and Joe McCannon travelled to the UK to lead the academy, which combined storytelling with collaborative group work to encourage participants to dig deep into their motivations in order to begin the personal transformation they need to create change on a large scale.
SW AHSN Chief Executive, Professor Jonathon Gray, said:
“As Spread Academy pioneers, the teams and individuals we have taken on board this week are paving the future of health and social care for patients.”
Professor Gray believes the academy is uniquely placed to help innovators break into an industry that is notoriously difficult to enter.
“Navigating the health and social care system is hard; innovators need to overcome many barriers to spreading their idea and having it adopted. Our Spread Academy provides them with the tools they need to break into the market.”
Spread Academy pupil and transformation lead for NHS England’s nursing directorate, Elizabeth Carter, joined the academy to spread her work on the Nursing Now England campaign.
“We need nine million more nurses and midwives worldwide by 2030. I’ll be using what I learnt at the Spread Academy to create networks of nursing and midwifery ambassadors who can champion the profession among young people and get under the skin of decision makers,” said Elizabeth.
As part of the academy, participants were encouraged to take a close look at their past to understand their present-day motivations for creating change. Fellow academy pupil and dietitian Marianne Williams said she found the experience “emotionally exhausting, cognitively challenging, powerfully enlightening, and deeply touching.”
“I am a different person to the one that walked through the door four days ago,” said Marianne.
The Spread Academy is part of the SW AHSN’s developing Mayflower Innovation Centre, an upcoming epicentre for innovation based in Plymouth, and an initiative of the SW AHSN’s Innovation Exchange, an approach commissioned by the UK’s Office for Life Sciences to identify, select, and support the adoption of innovations that improve our economy and patients’ lives.
Pupils of the academy will now be provided with nine months’ worth of support to help spread their ideas.
Read more about the Spread Academy on Twitter: @sw_ahsn #SpreadAcademy
Elizabeth Carter has written a blog for the SW AHSN on the Spread Academy and female leadership.
Marianne Williams has also written a blog documenting her experience at the academy.