We're a small, hard-working team with a wealth of experience in community engagement, community research, collaborative practices, co-production and health and social care.
In 2016 our Directors Linda Hutchinson, Helen Sharp and Anna Eaton were all working separately as consultants, mainly in the public and community sector and across health and care. They noticed a growing movement of people in the UK with a hunger to transform the way we do things using collaboration and approaches that focused on people’s strengths, not just their needs.
But back then, it felt like most of us didn’t know about each other. Many of us were trying to work in these ways on our own, committed to our convictions but without any expert support.
Co-production, collaboration, asset-based thinking – all those approaches which will transform the way we work, are scary and messy and often fly in the face of our structured, strategic and risk averse leadership. And it wasn’t the budgets, research or evidence that was persuading others to work in this way, it was the stories of people doing things across the country that seemed to shift people’s thinking. We needed a space to connect and celebrate these stories.
So we started a website for championing the ideas and stories we came across in our work about great people doing great things that are all about communities. This website grew into our Ideas Hub.
When the Ideas Hub was first set up it was a side project we all worked on in our spare time. Linda, Helen and Anna officially joined forces to create the Ideas Alliance in 2017 to help support and work with others to be brave and do things differently, as well as continuing to share stories on the Ideas Hub.
Over the last few years our team has grown and so has the movement to make this way of working the norm and not the exception. We are very lucky to be a part of that movement and we are very proud of our growing network of people who work in a similar way.
Through our work on the front line in the public sector and our consultancy work with local authorities, clinical commissioning groups, children & young people’s services, NHS Vanguards and community projects, we have built up considerable knowledge of strength based and coproduction approaches in action. We have developed a deep understanding of how it can work on the ground, where resistance might be met and how to overcome some of the challenges that prevent change from happening. We have seen what works and what doesn’t.
We can bring our expertise, experience and enthusiasm to any organisation and community wishing to apply strengths based approaches and co-production.
We want to accelerate progress towards a future where public services work in equal partnership with local people rather than to or for them – using collaborative and strengths-based approaches such as co-production, restorative practice, appreciative inquiry and strength based community development. We want this to become the norm, not the exception.
These things that are important to us. They guide the way we work and how we live our lives.
Collaborate don't compete
This is our motto; we are part of a wide network of similarly minded people and organisations.
We learn by asking questions. Don't be afraid to say you don't know, to ask why or find out more.
Always remember to play, laugh and be silly. These things connect us and make us human.
Everyone has something to offer
Consider everyone as having something to offer and encourage others to do the same.
Be the change you want to see in the world
Ok, we nicked this one. But it's very important. Change starts with each individual.
Use every opportunity to put co-production into practice, with local people and local workforce.
We are a small, dedicated team who are always keen to roll up our sleeves and get involved.