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Session 5: Quality

Wednesday 5 April

After coming up with so many great concepts at our last session to improve outcomes for young people transitioning to independence from care, it was time to select our best ideas to develop and test them further.

Before we began, our facilitator Christian checked in with how everyone in the room was travelling. In the room there was a mixture of apprehension and optimism.

“I’m really feeling the weight of responsibility to achieve a good outcome for these young people,” said one participant.

Another participant expressed that they were “pensive” around the word sustainability when it came to generating ideas. “It has to be sustainable or it will be the young people that suffer again and again and again.”

The possibility of a making a real difference to the lives of young people leaving care also filled many with a strong sense of hope. “I am optimistic. I feel like we will achieve something quite remarkable,” one participant said.

So how to sift out the gold from all the ideas our work had generated so far? Which ones had the best chances of putting our optimism into action that would make a real difference?

As a group, we’d already agreed on our non-negotiables. Our solutions had to be innovative and divergent from current practice, low cost or not cost, engage the broader community (not just the service system) and be tested with young people transitioning from care and their carers.

Christian introduced us to some new tools to help select our most promising ideas easier. The first was how to test ideas for “stickiness.”

In their book Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die, Chip and Dan Heath describe six principles found among quality and successful ideas:

Simple – keep it simple and profound
Unexpected – surprise your audience
Concrete – use concrete images
Credible – help people test ideas for themselves
Emotions – tap into emotions to convey your point
Stories – share stories to inspire people to act on your ideas

You can find out more about what makes ideas “sticky” here.

Each team quickly presented their “wall of ideas” and then everyone in the room got to vote for their favourite by placing a “sticky dot” next to them.

We were then invited to present our team’s most popular ideas as a “newsflash”. Under a bold title, we described our idea in twenty five words or less and drew a picture to illustrate it.

The most popular ideas involved:

  • peer or community-led mentoring of young people living in care to help them develop the beliefs and skills necessary to stand on their own two feet
  • employing young people with an experience of care to act as advisors to the out-of-home care system
  • giving young people in care greater control over planning leaving care and identifying their needs including who will be the key community supports in their lives, and
  • Paid work experience - including through a new social enterprise - or creating incentives for workplaces to take on kids with an experience of care.

After the Easter break, we’ll come back together for our Implement phase, where we start to test out potential solutions and develop prototypes for implementation.

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