What’s in a name?

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This week on Monday and Wednesday I was with my Iriss (Institute of Research and Innovation in Social Services) colleagues in Stirling on a Learning Week. It felt like a luxury to take two full days out to think and discuss various issues emerging around ASP and other issues with which Iriss are involved, particularly as my role has now become pretty busy. However, I came away feeling that it was time very well used and glad that I am working with an organisation who prioritise this kind of support to really provide the space and time to consider the issues currently facing us, including the busy national ASP landscape.

One of the first led discussions asked us about what we felt was the difference between improvement and innovation. I have often wondered about this myself and on occasion been reluctant to label ASP developments that I have worked on as ‘innovative’ – in case the Innovation Police came along and told me I had not ticked all the right boxes in the Innovation Checklist and was therefore an imposter! This session really helped me to appreciate that Improvement and Innovation are more of a continuum. I think I previously imposed far too many stringent criteria on what could legitimately be called innovation. I am thinking now, in terms of innovation across sectors (something existing from another sector being used for the first time in a new sector) as well as much more inclusively of the incremental improvements we sometimes make over a period of time, which often end up being very different from their initial concept and could be termed innovative. Perhaps the process used to arrive at a new output was innovative in its approach – something Iriss excel at.

I am thinking now, about all the recent developments in relation to ASP and the work of the National ASP Implementation Group and its Subgroups, as well as local colleagues developing tools to assist with ASP decision making etc. All with innovation stamped all over them. I will be much less reluctant to label approaches an ‘innovative’ in future.

I am hoping that within the next week or so, I will have finalised my NASPC Work Plan for the next 12 months (financial year) 2023 – 2024. Watch out for the ‘I’ word appearing in a Work Plan near you soon!