Stories – how to use them to bring work to life

Changing places with stories is a new resource developed by Space Unlimited with Research for Real to help groups of people to work with stories to support learning and inspire action to improve our places. Experience shows that story-telling can and does change the way we think about problems and solutions.  Far from being anecdotal or subjective, stories are actually gold dust.

You can download the pack here.

Posted in Co-production and new ways of working, How can evaluation be useful?, living systems research, Participatory research methods, Partnership working, Research Impact, Stories | Comments Off on Stories – how to use them to bring work to life

Everyone’s talking about impact…..

Nice blog by Heather Sim of Space Unlimited…measurement of change as an art as much as a science.

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Improvisation and the art of change

At a Total Place event today we were reminded “the revolution will be improvised”.

A catchy meme for sure which reminded me of an article I’ve read some time ago by Frank J Barrett.   He makes the point that there are lots of misconceptions about improvisation in music –  that jazz players are ‘inarticulate. untutored geniuses, that they have no idea what they are playing as if picking notes out of thin air,’   when actually ‘the art of jazz playing is very complex and the result of a relentless pursuit of learning and disciplined imagination.’ 

Here’s the abstract and a link for those of you curious about how to co-produce coherent social innovation and change.

After discussing the nature of improvisation and the unique challenges and dangers implicit in the learning task that jazz improvisers create for themselves, the author broadly outlines seven characteristics that allow jazz bands to improvise coherently and maximize social innovation in a coordinated fashion.  He also draws on his own experience as a jazz pianist. Finally, implications for organizational design and managing for learning are suggested. http://bit.ly/V6Uoza

Posted in Co-production and new ways of working, How can evaluation be useful?, living systems research, Participatory research methods, Partnership working, Research Impact, What is action research? | Comments Off on Improvisation and the art of change

10 years of life as action research…..

Research for Real is ten years old this week.  We’ve been celebrating in style.  And were lucky enough to have the company of Yoland Wadsworth who’s been to Scotland as part of her current trip to Europe as a keynote speaker at the Collaborative Action Research Network (CARN) conference this weekend.   We’ve had two great events with Yoland in Edinburgh and Glasgow and there’s real excitement about taking forward some of her really groundbreaking ideas about living systems research  in Scotland.  If you’d like to be involved in that drop us an email.  More information will follow soon.

Posted in Co-production and new ways of working, How can evaluation be useful?, living systems research, Participatory research methods, Partnership working, Research Impact, What is action research? | Comments Off on 10 years of life as action research…..

Really useful evidence?

Recently I was at the same event as Jackie Killeen, Director of the Big Lottery in Scotland.   It was great to hear her say this:

“At BIG we have some positive experience of being able to find and utilise evidence to inform both our priorities and our funding approach. For example, our recent funding programme to support victims of domestic abuse saw us use evaluation findings on effective approaches to helping women and children affected by domestic abuse, and fund the roll-out of these approaches into many more areas.  We think this is a good way of replicating proven examples of good practice.”   See more here.

She was talking about the Cedar evaluation.  We’re delighted that the evaluation evidence was useful for the funders – and doubly delighted that it was also useful at the time for those who were implementing the programme.

Posted in Co-production and new ways of working, How can evaluation be useful?, Participatory research methods, Partnership working, Research Impact, What is action research? | Comments Off on Really useful evidence?

Don’t do it unless you have to?

We know that multi-agency partnership working is difficult.

“Collaboration is by nature inefficient.  It is only sensible to collaborate if real collaborative advantage can be envisaged.  The strongest piece of advice, therefore, is ‘don’t do it unless you have to’”. 

Here’s a new set of reports that document the lessons from the Fife Alcohol Partnership Project.  There are lots of lessons from the overall approach likely to be of interest to others facing similar challenges across Scotland and the wider UK. It is likely to be of particular interest to members of Alcohol and Drug Partnerships, Community Planning Partnerships and all those with an interest in the public service reform agenda.

The reports are available on the FASS website.

•Quote from: Doing Things Collaboratively: Realizing the Advantage or Succumbing to Inertia?  Professor Chris Huxham and Siv Vangen, Organizational Dynamics, Vol 33, No 2 2004, University of Strathclyde

 

Posted in Co-production and new ways of working, How can evaluation be useful?, Participatory research methods, Partnership working, Research Impact, What is action research? | Comments Off on Don’t do it unless you have to?

How to create an appetite for evidence……

I’m just back from a very interesting gathering of folk who find evidence use fascinating and want to see more of it.    We at least seemed to agree that we want to create more of an appetite for evidence and want to do more sharing of examples of promising practices.

So here is an example based on a conference paper given last year. 

Creating a community of reflective practice– It’s based on the CEDAR evaluation but goes into more detail about the approach.  You might like this if you:

  • want to see better use of existing evidence both from elsewhere and the stuff that we’re already swimming in;
  • think that the evidence doesn’t ‘speak for itself’;
  • suspect that hearing the voice of the consumer or service user might well provide very valuable perspectives on the nature of the problem and generate new solutions;
  • suspect that much could be learnt by sharing of the rich experience of practitioners;
  • would like to see those practitioners get more feedback about their work – both what’s good and what needs to change;
  • think that if research is to be worthwhile, it should contribute to changes in practice as well as report the outcomes of the programme;
  • like the idea of a community of reflective practice, but are not sure how to make a start.

For a short visual explanation of some of this you might also want to have at look here.

 

Posted in Co-production and new ways of working, How can evaluation be useful?, Participatory research methods, Partnership working, Research Impact, What is action research? | Comments Off on How to create an appetite for evidence……

How action research can help to deliver better services

See this short creative storyboard – with thanks to IRISS for their support

How action research can help to deliver better services from iriss on Vimeo.

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We need more experimentation….

This is well worth a look……The Public Petitions Committee of the Scottish Parliament   An important call for us all to talk about our assumptions, share our thinking and adopt a more experimental approach to the design and delivery of public services.    We’ve been arguing much the same thing here.

 

 

Posted in Co-production and new ways of working, How can evaluation be useful?, Participatory research methods, Partnership working, Research Impact, What is action research? | Comments Off on We need more experimentation….

When are you ever not piloting?

See this new page with a short article about the important debate about redefining the relationship between public services and communities and the role of research and evidence.  It would be great to hear your responses.

Posted in Co-production and new ways of working, How can evaluation be useful?, Participatory research methods, Partnership working, Research Impact, What is action research? | Comments Off on When are you ever not piloting?