The Care Collective has launched it’s brand new website – take a look at thecarecollective.wales

 

 

I joined the organisation nearly two years ago, near the start of the pandemic. It’s been hard to get to know everyone under lockdown and other restrictions and I’ve noticed home working, two metre distancing and mask wearing has created a sense of distance, disconnect and sometimes isolation for staff. Individuals and teams do great work but truly integrated working across the organisation has probably not has been as strong as we’d all like.

Our rapid growth and the physical distance between our offices has probably also meant we’ve struggled to feel like one connected organisation. As it feels like we’re finally moving out of the really restricted phase of Covid (fingers doubly crossed), it feels like the right time for us to work together to take a fresh look at who we are, what we want to be, how we become more united and what we need to do to get there.

At the start of this week, we welcomed a flurry of emails in response to a request in our Friday newsletter from our people to get involved in this work and attend a brand discovery workshop at DesignDough’s office in Cardiff. Although timings are tight and we were unable to give people the notice we’d have liked to, I was really encouraged that people from across the organisation had got in touch and had been able to move diaries around to get involved at such short notice. It was really important to me that we capture the essence of who we are, what we do and why we do it and as this work unfolds, I know there will be plenty of opportunity in future workshops for others to get involved and share their ideas and thoughts too.

We’ve put a short video together that summarises the day.

Should I, shouldn’t I?

 

Now, I really love this stuff. I have a background in marketing and communications and am so excited about the process of developing a new name, brand and website. But as I thought about whether I should be there for the first meeting or not, I was torn.

One part was telling me: “Yes. You need to have a say in this session, you need to show your passion and determination to get this right because it’s important”.

But then I thought: “No. This is not about me. It’s about the people that make up this organisation. The people with vast amounts of experience and excellent judgment in what they do. They know what we do and the people we support better than anyone. They should be giving their opinion unhindered.”

Whilst I hope people find me approachable, I wanted staff to be able to speak their views openly, honestly and without me being there, potentially inhibiting anything they may have had on their mind. So, I decided not to go.

 

Thoughts on the day.

 

It was great to see this feedback from the people that attended yesterday’s session.

“I found the morning insightful where amazing collaboration of minds, ideas and, of both care and life experiences came together to define the realisation of the huge difference we all work towards in the care world.” – Ros Jeffries | Regulation and Quality Assurance Officer

“I thought the day went exceptionally well. It was really interesting and enjoyable even though we had to answer some challenging questions. We actually learned a lot about other areas of the service that we didn’t know about. I’ve ended up thinking very differently about how we decide on our new name and what we need to do to get ourselves out there for people to find us.” – Michelle Davies | Deputy Registered Care Manager

“I really enjoyed the DesignDough workshop! It was great to be around a table with representatives from across our organisation discussing and learning about what is important to each of us and ultimately our organisation. The process was thorough and the DesignDough guys really got stuck into the intricacies of who we are and what we stand for. I am extremely excited to see what happens next and where our new brand will take us.” – Rachel Brown | Schools Development Worker.

“I very much enjoyed Wednesday and  consider that it was  an invaluable organisational discussion which provided me with better understanding as to what so many of the staff in our organisation do, and do well. It also gave a platform for us to express what we would like to see happen and achieve in the future. It was very useful and insightful, to meet others within the organisation who have quite different roles. However, the main thing that came across is that we were all passionate about what we do and that is ‘supporting unpaid carers to live their lives and thrive’.” – Wendy Leverton | Carer’s Wellbeing Worker

“The workshop this morning went really well. You have a super passionate team who all care so much about the organisation and its future. It was fantastic.”- Joe Brown, Managing Director of Design Dough

 

It’s already started to change

 

As you can see from the quotes above and from the input we’re having in other projects, such as the service design group, people have already started working together in a way they haven’t before.

Yesterday brought together people that hadn’t worked together before into the same room to talk about one of the biggest changes we will have gone through in a while. Over the last 3 weeks we’ve got a working group set up to think about content for our upcoming new website, we’ve also started a group that will work to run and develop an intranet to help us share news internally.

The staff forum is going from strength to strength and we’re starting to think differently now too. We’re not thinking necessarily about just our siloed part of the organisation but thinking more about the part we play in it.

 

But we need to do more

 

Seeing this progress has also given us the need to explore how else we can improve. I’ve spoken about the exciting things we’ll be doing as an organisation but all of that will be made more difficult if we don’t have the right systems and technology in place.

With that, I’m looking forward to awarding a new contract for our IT service provider in the next couple of weeks.

We need IT that works and is consistent across our business. And in a sector where we’re more used to how to relate to people than technology, it’s important to us that we find someone that can help us learn, become more confident and adept at using the tools that will help us help others in future.

 

A beautiful coincidence?

 

The timing of both the brand work and the IT work was admittedly coincidental, but there are many benefits to them being so close together in the timeline of our development this year. I’m looking forward to these changes and I’m really pleased that so many of our people are excited and are being proactive in playing a part in that. I want everyone across the organisation to lead and inspire others to make us one of the most innovative, people-focussed organisations in Wales. It’s fantastic – and i’m proud that they getting involved and continually showing their passion.

Kieran.