Meet the Co:Create Meeting

Have you ever sat in a meeting wondering why you’re there and what on earth the point of the meeting is? Ever led a meeting and been eternally frustrated as to why no-one seems engaged or has anything to contribute? Stupid question right – we’ve all been there.

What would you say if I told you I love meetings and I believe in their power? You probably think I’m a bit crazy.

A fundamental premise of working in Co:Create is believing in collaboration. We all know there’s no ‘I’ in ‘team’ but how many of us feel like we genuinely play to each team members’ strengths? Do we ever deliver a fully coproduced product that really is greater than the sum of its parts?

To genuinely co-design and co-deliver anything (including meetings) the starting point for me has always been intentional equality. Who sets the agenda for your meeting? Who chairs it? In our team we utilise online tools to pool agenda ideas and we rotate the chair. My biggest tip for making agenda items feel relevant and focused? Write them as a question. Such a simple tool. Making yourself translate items into a question helps do two things; focus on the intended outcome of that agenda item and ask, ‘do we really need to spend time in the meeting looking at this or do we already know the answer’?

Our team also fosters equality by giving everyone a chance to speak. Using the principles of Time to Think we create an environment that says to the people in the meeting – “your thinking is precious to us”. We take turns to speak, never interrupting each other and always giving each other generative attention. I love this phrase; genuine, active listening that actually generates people’s best thinking!

We also take time to manage the physical environment. We use venues and settings that make people feel at ease, comfortable and perhaps even a little bit special. We get in a nice lunch and build in plenty of breaks and snacks. The whole idea is to create an environment that says back to people “you matter”.

One of the core values of Co:Create is to practice what we preach and role model our values. If we’re enabled as a team to do our best thinking, we hope we’ll enable others to do the same. When time and resources across health and social care are stretched and difficult decisions and problems seem unending, making the best use of your collaborative brain is a surefire way of achieving results. Ensuring that the collaboration is as diverse and inclusive as possible, hearing from all possible voices and harnessing the strengths of all involved is, for me, the key to successful coproduction.

Who knows, people might even start to enjoy your meetings.

Morwenna Foden Co:Create Programme Lead

@morwennafoden

Emma Ward