“Putting your money where your mouth is: Realising the benefits of integrating oral health in your STPs” Health & Care Innovation Expo217, Manchester, Sept 2017, where Mike Wheeler delivered an inspiring talk about innovation and change. The aim of this post is to reach out to a wider audience and amplify ideas beyond Expo2017.


Generating new ideas/solutions is challenging particularly for organizations with well-established ways of doing things such as care homes, hospitals etc. But it does not have to be. The advantage of being such an organization - whether hospital, care home or even an NHS Trust - is you have a potential resource that frequently goes unacknowledged as a source of ideas: the workforce, in particular front line staff. An organization’s employees, thanks to their location on the frontline, are a potential goldmine of innovative ideas. The employer just needs to know how to extract this information, put it to good use, and capture the hearts and minds of the staff involved.

In his presentation Mike Wheeler told a story about a hair dresser who regularly visited a care home, she noticed one of the residents has been refusing to have her hair washed, but became amenable when the day time TV programme “Doctors” came on. The hair dresser mentioned this to the manager. Both agreed to try and wash the lady’s hair while “Doctors” is on, as expected the resident was very responsive. From then on “Doctors” DVD became part of her personal care plan. This is a story about how crowd sourcing front line staff can be an engine for innovation to develop personalized solutions. Underlying what happened is the individual and team involved, who were able to alter their own behaviour and derive the needed results in a culture open to innovation and change. NICE "Oral Health in Care Homes", Quality Standard (QS151) June 2017, for full report  click here.

More crowd sourcing stories from Mike Wheeler about simple and effective solutions that improve quality of life and outcome of care. These ‘stories’ are a source of important material for shared learning and training in care homes, hospitals and similar organizations, where crowd sourcing can make all the difference. As a concept, crowd sourcing has come into its own in the digital age - thinking outside the box to drive innovation. Learn about why tea and biscuit should be part of care plans in care homes and a lot more, listen to Mike Wheeler’s 22 min podcast  .