What did we learn at INSIGHT 2022?

With two weeks of talks, training and panels, featuring experts from across healthcare and beyond, nearly 3,000 attendees joined us live at INSIGHT 2022 to discuss the science and craft of decision making.

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We heard from policy makers, news investigators, service deliverers and even military and police leaders, as they looked back at the lessons they’ve learned and forward to how healthcare needs to make decisions in this modern age.

The festival itself may be over, but it’s far from forgotten – you can watch any sessions you missed (or re-watch ones you want to dive back into) via our handy recording, which you can find here. And to jog your memory, we asked some of the leaders involved in this year’s biggest ever INSIGHT festival for their favourite moments and learnings from the two weeks.

Strategy Unit Director Peter Spilsbury

“Several speakers making the point that the most important characteristic for an analyst is curiosity.  I agree! And to be usefully curious, I think that that means analysts need to be supported to build their contextual understanding … health and care policy; service models; the literature … and given space to be part of exploratory conversations with others, especially clinicians and service users.”

Principal Consultant and Programme Lead for the Midlands Decision Support Network Simon Bourne

“In the session that explored the perspectives of ICB leaders on their decision-making practice, I found Shane Devlin’s reflections fascinating. He described moving from acting as a ‘decision-maker’ in his previous organisation to more of a ‘decision facilitator’ in his system role – this really resonated with me. I could see how when faced with making decisions in a complex, emergent and highly-constrained environment (and with a huge range of competing priorities) the route to success would be to focus on using your power to facilitate a high quality process.”

Watch the video on YouTube here

“It was fantastic to hear Nigel Edward’s support for the Decision Support Network model in the opening session of INSIGHT. The emphasis that he placed in his ‘lessons from history’ on the importance of collaboration and networks in sharing knowledge and reducing unnecessary duplication, as well as the need to address challenges both in the supply and demands side for analytics to achieve better decision-making reflects the foundational principles of both the Midlands and South West Decision Support Networks. “

Watch the video on YouTube here

Principal Consultant at the Strategy Unit Fraser Battye

Sir David Nicholson really brought something home for me. He talked about different sources of power in decision making, and he drew a distinction between ‘Knights’ and ‘Barons’. He sees Knights as drawing their influence from their technical, and sometimes moral, authority – clinicians for example. And he saw Barons as having influence through positional power and resources under their control – hospital Chief Executives for example. This really helped me think about the influence of analysts, who will almost always be Knightish. I’ve already used this in our ‘Leadership for Analysts’ development programme.”

Watch the video on YouTube here

“I’ve never interviewed a philosopher before, so the session on ethical decision making with Professor Angie Hobbs was a particular highlight for me. (She’s been a guest on Radio 4’s ‘In Our Time’ 25 times…which makes me INSIGHT’s Melvin Bragg). The stereotype of a philosopher would be someone who is firmly in an ivory tower, more concerned with logical perfection than real world mess. But Angie’s session showed that she can operate in both worlds. She offered ways of thinking about ethical dilemmas in a way that will be new to many of us. And she gave practical advice that – with almost no additional effort – could help decision makers make ethically justifiable decisions. I’m keen that we develop this work on ethics.”

Watch the video on YouTube here

Health Economics Unit Director Andi Orlowski

“For me the highlight was seeing the move away from a particular type of analytics, approach or software (regression, machine learning, the use of R etc.) and how analytics (of whatever ‘flavour’) is used to make and support decision making. The critical role analytics and analysts play in decision making now and with more a more data connected NHS the further influence and importance analysts will play in the future. We are moving away from be analysts, economists to becoming decision analysts, decision supporters, decision influencers.

“This feels a profound step and an evolution of our work, it is bigger than just good maths and a further move to professional analytics.”

Watch the video on YouTube here