The habits of an improver

Thinking about learning for improvement in health care

October 2015

Hadjer Nacer
Thumbnail

Key points

  • This paper offers a way of viewing the field of improvement from the perspective of the men and women who deliver and co-produce care on the ground, the improvers on whom the NHS depends.
  • It describes 15 habits which such individuals regularly deploy, grouped under five broad headings – learning, influencing, resilience, creativity and systems thinking.
  • It goes on to suggest that there is a ‘signature pedagogy’ of improving quality, that is to say that there are certain teaching and learning methods which best develop capability in understanding and implementing improvement.

Improving the quality of care services is an imperative for the NHS. For this to happen systematically a substantial proportion of those working in health care need to be committed to learning and changing, as well as capable of implementing and sometimes leading improvements.

In this paper, Professor Bill Lucas offers a way of viewing the field of improvement from the perspective of the men and women who deliver and co-produce care on the ground – the improvers on whom the NHS depends. The paper describes 15 habits which such individuals regularly deploy, grouped under five broad headings:

  • Learning
  • Influencing
  • Resilience
  • Creativity
  • Systems thinking

It goes on to suggest that there are certain teaching and learning methods which best develop skills and knowledge for understanding and implementing improvement.

The habits of an improver has been written to promote discussion and as a possible model for all those seeking to take decisions about the best balance of attitudes, skills and knowledge – both in initial training and continuing professional development – for improvement across the NHS and beyond.

Further reading

Quick guide

Quality improvement made simple

This guide focuses on one important element of the quality agenda: quality improvement. It looks in particular at what are kn...

Evidence scan

Quality improvement training for healthcare professionals

This evidence scan looks at the content of training and the impact it is shown to have, as well as the effectiveness of diffe...

You might also like...

Event

Webinar: Spreading innovation and improvement in the NHS

Register for our upcoming webinar, which will expand upon the findings of our recent report 'The spread challenge'.

Book now

Newsletter feature

Tackling complex problems, together

A new collaboration between our Q Improvement Lab (Q Lab) and the mental health charity Mind, is exploring how care can be de...

Blog

Changing leadership culture, one conversation at a time

Will Warburton, Director of Improvement, explains why the next round of the GenerationQ Fellowship will be the last, and how ...

Kjell-bubble-diagramArtboard 101

Work with us

We look for talented and passionate individuals as everyone at the Health Foundation has an important role to play.

View current vacancies
Artboard 101 copy 2

The Q Community

Q is an initiative connecting people with improvement expertise across the UK.

Find out more