Insight to Action Blog #3: Insight to Action: it’s a community effort

The third in a series of blogs on Insight to Action by the Midlands Decision Support Network

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Lucy Hawkins, the Strategy Unit

There are many challenges in translating the findings from insights into action. These may include poor access to evidence, poorly contextualised insights, low levels of capacity and capability to act upon findings, a lack of supportive structures and processes, variance in the perception of the value of evidence, and knowledge not being shared between practitioners.

Through our work we are attempting to improve access to reliable evidence that is applicable to a local context. But we are also trying to raise awareness of the value of evidence (in the broadest sense) and increase the capability of people working in local systems to find and act upon it.

By approaching the problem from both the demand and supply side we hope to avoid a situation where we have a bunch of highly skilled but bored analysts who leave the NHS because they aren’t seeing the fruits of their labour. Or creating a cohort of highly skilled leaders who want to be making evidence informed decisions but can’t find any analysts to help them with the work.

Our training programmes – in particular our Decision Quality for Leaders, Leadership for Analysts and Thinking Tools for Decision Making courses – enable the sharing of ideas and tools that will equip people in the quest for higher quality decision making. Through these programmes we are also creating the space for people to build connections. Giving them time to share their knowledge and experience, and problem solve together. Therefore, creating a community focused on the translation of insights into action.

To further build these communities we have established a series of networks including the Midlands Analyst Network, the Knowledge Mobilisation community of practice and the Evaluation community of practice. As well as developing several associated guides on finding evidence for decision making and translating insights to action.

We are continually looking for more ways to bring people together, in particular those who are already applying some of these ideas and concepts. Over the coming months I hope to be able to share some of their stories.