Anna talks about her experience of coproduction and how visual/graphic facilitation can enable conversations that enable people to really take part. Preparation and shared records of collaboration are very important in coproduction. 

Yeah. Can I get you to introduce yourself, please? Yes. So my name is Anna Gaia, and I'm from new possibilities. And I am a visual practitioner, so and under facilitator

And I work a lot in the social care and health kind of field. But I also work with other public sector groups. Um, yeah

I should probably tell you lots more about me as we go on. So thank you for introducing yourself. Would you be able to share with me an experience you've had of co production? Yeah, absolutely

So I am. I facilitate group sessions. I'm usually invited to, um, help groups think about what would work for them from their perspective

So I try and find creative ways of doing that, and I use a number of different processes. I think one of the big factors that I find particularly helpful is using visual minute eating as a process to help people see what they're saying, Um, and getting that, uh, put up there, and I'm sorry. I'm just gonna I should start again in a second

I'm just turning my phone on silent. I don't know if you just heard that. Then go

Um So I'm often invited to facilitate sessions where, um, it's important for people to be able to talk about what their experience has been in order to help shape the future of services. Um, I may use a different kind of processes to help with that, or I might act to facilitate that and have someone that's capturing that visually. Or I may just turn up to event that is being facilitated by another person and just listen to the conversations and capture it

So my experience of co production is very much from kind of helping groups have those conversations. And I've got a number of different examples that I could share with you if that's helpful with that work. Okay, so, uh, the other day I was wondering was whether or not it would be helpful me for me to share my screen, because then you'll see some pictures that will kind of give people an idea of what visual minute ng is

Sure. What I'm going to do then, is I'm going to make your co host to enable you to do that. Okay? You should have the ability now

Yeah, that's great. Thank you. Okay, So if I share with you a couple of examples that I've got, then I'll be able to talk through my experience of co production and how it's been really useful, Um, in terms of bringing about service change

So I've got a couple of examples. I'm going to share this one first. Um, so that looks quite busy and fold, isn't it? This was for, um, uh, a charitable organisation that works with people with visual impairment

RP fighting blindness. Um, it's a particular type of visual impairment, and that can affect young people particularly, um, So this was a group of parents who had come together for the weekend that had a kind of a a retreat coming together and supporting each other. But one of the things they want to do is think about how they could establish a responsive support mechanism that would work for families and how agencies could support them to do that

So we used a process, and I invited them to have some conversations. And this process is called appreciative inquiry. Um, so we discover about what is important about an experience, what they know of from their previous experience of where they felt well supported

Um, and take that into the future and think about well, what if that's what we know and we understand Works well, How can we create a more positive future for families and for people with that visual impairment? And then we think about okay. So if if that's what it needs to look like, what needs to be present, and that's the design phase, So it's a it's a it's a process that kind of takes you through in stages. Um, so this event, particularly as I said, was a weekend retreat

Um, and there were family members and there were young people who were experiencing different types of visual impairment, different stages of visual impairment. Um, and we put out things on the tables, so creative things on tables for people to be able to play with, but also to be able to create things and encourage them to have conversations. And I think the thing that works particularly well when we're doing things in a co productive way is to invite people to have conversations and not be too directive but to find out what comes out of that

So it's really something that's guided by what's important to the individuals that are having that conversation rather than having a set agenda as to, you know, right, you can have a conversation about this and we're expecting these kinds of answers. It's a much more kind of fluid way of working with people. And I think that that's the bit that I find most exciting about doing stuff in a co productive way because you don't necessarily know where it's going to end up

So I'm just gonna stop sharing that one. And it might be that I think of another example as we go through something that I can share with you. So, um, what, uh, so really great

Thank you for sharing that get a real sense of, like, kind of people they're not leading it. So what difference working that way makes in your opinion as a facilitator. And what impact does it have? So I think that so the thing that I feel really strongly about is having a visual record of those conversations, and the reason that I think that's really important is that people can see their contributions being captured live and they say big

You know, though, that that picture that I showed you was on a three metre length of paper. So it's big and you can't miss it. Um, so there's something about being able to capture those conversations live and for people to see what's being recorded

So it's it's very different. It changes the dynamic in the room because you you might be having so for some experiences of co productive stuff, it may be that there are lots of notes taken on small pieces of paper and they're taken away and then they're written up, and then you get some feedback and you think, Oh, I'm not sure that that was what we were. That wasn't my memory of

It wasn't what I was thinking we were talking about. So having a visual minute allows it to become much more transparent. It makes it much more accessible for people

You can see what's being captured, and you know what's being taken away from that conversation. And and the other thing that's really important is that there's a space to check back your understanding. So, you know, as a visual practitioner, I'm in a very privileged and quite a powerful position withholding the pens and capturing things

And it's really important to me that whatever is said represents and reflects what's important to the group. So I like to be able to feed that back and say, This is you know, you've had these conversations and this is what I've heard and this is how I've made sense of it. Is that right? Is there anything missing? Have I misinterpreted things? Is there anything that needs to change because this is your record? It's not my record

So in terms of what works, well, what makes it what makes it work? I think it's very much about having, uh, being an open to that challenge of, You know that you know, you've not got that or not. That's not what I meant. People being able to change it

I think that's really important. I think that's when it's working well. You get that two way kind of conversation and you know, again you know different experiences of copra, you know, things that are labelled as co production

You know, it might be that there are people in positions of power or authority that can influence the conversations that are happening in the room or want to challenge or say no, That's not right, you know. So if somebody talks about their experience and then you have a professional person say, Well, no, that's not the way it works here or that doesn't happen here. It kind of dismisses what what you've said and and the importance of that, you know? So I think there's something about validating people's experiences, and I think that this does it in a very powerful way

And you can't You can't you know it's in your face. It's big as you can't. You can't pretend that wasn't there

So I guess where my experience of it working really well is when there might be a gathering or a meeting where conversations are encouraged, that's captured, and then it's taken away, and it's used to influence and inform decision making processes. Um, so one example. Let me just share another couple of examples

So I've got two examples here, and this this was from, um, an engagement event. Using whose shoes? Uh, Jill Phillips, from whose shoes? Just some great co production work. And this was a recording of who's Shoes game that was played in Liverpool and it was looking at older hey hospital and the importance of neonatal care for babies who are born prematurely or have been born with significant illnesses that need to be taken care of in a neonatal unit

Um and so the conversations took place in this record was then used to inform, um, bid for a new build. Um, that would be at older hey, hospital, but support women who were having their babies at Liverpool Women's Hospital not be separated from them. So there was something about their babies that need expert health care being separated from their moms because moms were at the women's hospital and babies were transferred to the neonatal unit

So it's trying to prevent that from happening by building this new unit. So that was that was one record. And then, um, there was a further workshop that again was using the whose shoes board game

Um, to think about the strategy. You think about it more strategically, um, in terms of their business case. So this is another example, then here

This is the second workshop. Um, and it was taking some of the themes that had come out of that first workshop and exploring them, uh, more deeply and more strategically so that they could understand what they needed to include in their bid. And the person that commissioned this piece of work was who was a senior person and she kept, she kept saying, as they were developing their strategy

We just need to refer back to what people were telling us and taking people back and looking at the record and saying, Let's just check out what people were saying to us so that we don't kind of go off at a tangent or we don't forget what this is all about. So it was very much about keeping the voice of women and their experiences and their families experiences, and also the experiences of staff to inform and influence that that new build and that's now been opened. And at the heart of it is the need to keep families together, um, and reduce the anxiety that's created both for families and their babies and moms and babies, their families and also for staff

You know, it's stressful for the staff of them. They're having to dash between units in order to be able to provide the best quality of care. So the outcomes were brilliant, you know, for for everyone that was experiencing delivering that services

And I think that was those two workshops influencing and informing that the bid the business case to secure funding to be able to build a new unit and using that as a resident point I think is possibly one of the most powerful examples I've got of how successful co production can be. Thank you. So you've taken on a real journey of, like, why this approach is important and what as what can happen as a result of doing co production in, um, so you come across as really passionate

I'm wondering about how co production makes you feel. I am passionate. Yeah, right

And I you know, I think it's really I think that the answers are in the room, and so I really I feel passionately about making sure that people have that space to be able to talk about it. So when I hear people saying things that I know are contentious or hard to hear, um and they're able to say them openly. I you know, it just gives me a real It gives me a buzz But it also gives me a real sense of satisfaction that, you know, finally, people are feeling that their voices are being heard and will make a difference, you know? So, yeah, I don't think there's any other way of really, um, making real progress in terms of service development because because it's the people who experience the services and and and and I think it's also important that it's not

I'm not talking about just hearing the voice of people who use services necessarily. I'm talking about how valuable it is for people who use services. Also, to hear the perspective of what it's like to trying to lift those services that also hear the perspective of, you know, in order to commission those services, these are the things you know

These are some of the challenges that we face, so it's that bit of hearing all of those perspectives and that can help us. You know, having that diversity of thinking can help really help us work out OK, so if there's all of these things going on, then that makes me feel a bit differently about what the solution might be, and could you get the without co production? No, definitely, no, I don't think you can. Because because traditionally, the way of working in services is for someone somewhere to sit and think, Oh, no, that's got a problem here that, you know, and come up with an answer and then try and implement it and then discover that actually, that doesn't work for this person or that person, or this group of people, or this service cannot respond in that way, because you haven't got the voice of those people who are experiencing it, you know, in their daily lives, you know? And that's really important

And again, you know, I'm talking about daily lives in terms of accessing and experiencing the delivery of services, but also in trying to deliver services, you know, you can't. You can't. I don't think you know

I don't think you can do it without co production. If you're going to be successful. Do you have any, uh, top tips? And are there any challenges? So So I think, um I think so

Yes. I think there are challenges, I think one of the biggest challenges that I experienced when I'm facilitating a group in a co productive way is for people who work in services to feel that they have to have the answers, that you know, that people are looking to them to give the answers. And to be able to say I don't know what the solution is is actually quite difficult

And often people who work in services are passionate about what they're doing, and they want to do their very best. And they're doing their very best knowing what they know. And so they might have information they feel is really important

There is a risk, I think, that they can get into trying to fix people and mend a situation without having heard what people are saying their experiences or shut people down by saying so. It again, it might help if I give a specific example. So I was working with this, too

So where there's something that's really quite a subject matter that's really quite kind of contentious, like smoking during pregnancy or, UM, whether or not you choose to breast feed or bottle feed, you know, there's there's health. Um, there are health implications. And so health care professionals feel passionately about convincing people that there is a right or you know there's a there's a better there's a good way of doing things or a better way of doing things if you say smoking, pregnancy or if you choose not to breast feed

If you choose to feed your baby bottle, feed the baby, then you know there are medical. Uh, there's medical evidence and research that says that there may be better ways of doing it. Um, and the temptation for health care professionals in both of those conversations is to want to educate people and tell people why it's important and point them in the right direction

So they make some positive changes in order to improve the health care outcomes for their baby. Um, but if you enter a conversation from that position where you have information that is valuable information that you need to hear and understand, then it can you can feel like you're being, um you're you're being spoken down to, or it could be that you feel that you're being patronised. Or it could be that you feel, um, that you that you're intimidated or that you're getting it wrong, that you're failing that, you know, so that it can have quite negative impact

Even though you know the intentions are good, it can have a big impact on how people will engage with you if you enter into that kind of mindset. So I think that the challenges for me in terms of working productively and encouraging people to have conversations is very much about how can we have open and honest conversations that enable people to challenge? But there aren't about telling people how to do things, but are about curiosity and understood deepening and understanding rather than trying to fix people. And, you know, I and I think that when you know it's I would say that was my biggest challenge that I I experience is the kind of the tension that can be there between those different perspectives, even though what we know is, we need those different perspectives in order to be able to come to a good kind of solution or understanding

Thank you. So I wondered if you had any final comments or placing remarks about the value of co production. I think in terms of you're working in a co productive way, so there's the whole bit about whether or not you're engaging with people if you're co designing things, if you're you're working in a co productive way, being your co creating things, there's a there's a lot of kind of language that sits around it

But I would say that if you're wanting to make a difference in service development, what unique in the in the way services are provided or the way people are able to access services, um, that you really have to pay attention to what's important to the people whose living the experience of accessing and delivering those services. You really have to listen, and that means that you have to have an open mind and you can't direct people in terms of how they have that conversation, Um, so that you can really get a deeper understanding of what the issues are. And then once you've got that, you can begin to build on some solutions

But you have to engage with people all the way through that people have to be involved and included right the way through the process. It's not a token mystic. We're doing this bit, so we need to hear what you got to say, and then we go off and do something else

So it takes time. And that can be challenging. But it's worth it

The the end result is going to be better in the long run if you do it in that way. Thank you so much. I'm going to stop the recording there, if that's okay

Yeah, absolutely..

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