Tris Brown, our communications and media guru, guest blogs from a session exploring how digital creativity and design thinking could come together with people with social care related problems to solve.

Ever wondered what would happen if the world of geekdom met up with the world of adult social care?  I accept this is not something anyone stays up late at night thinking about – except a man called Max Zadow.  Founder of Digital Creativity in Disability and physically disabled himself, Max is a self-confessed Geek and has long been interested in what would happen if people from the two different cultures came together to identify problem areas in adult social care in which technology could provide a novel solution.

One cold Friday at Liverpool’s Science Park, several members of a local social care team commissioners, social workers and managers came together with disabled people in a room full of entrepreneurs, coders, social media experts and industrial designers.

First order of the day was to identify some problem areas which the room could discuss and apply their mental prowess to.  There were five such areas, but two – transport and common data standards for records – quickly fell by the wayside.  Transport was seen as too big an issue for those present to do anything about, and strangely the group discussing common data standards felt they had ‘solved’ the problem within 5 minutes, but implementation involved significantly more people than were in the room so, after a quick agreement to set up a consortium, coffee and cake, the group disbanded and joined other groups. (By the way, although the issue of common data standards sounds really boring, the care homes present estimate that they spend millions every year just coping with the fact that every resident the care for may arrive with a referral in a different format to everyone else’s)  

That leaves three final groups – Solving Part D; home visitation schedule changes; and the problem of how those using personal budgets are made aware of which services are available.

Of course the final one is of particular interest to Shared Lives Plus whose micro-enterprise members who always face the challenge of letting people know their service exists to be used.

The Part D problem was brought to life with a passionate plea from a care home provider who is regularly given a bonus for taking a resident on a Friday night and then fined on Wednesday when Panel disapproves of the placement.  But the real Eureka moment came when Continue reading