I have been working on diabetes and eye care in Keighley, West Yorkshire for the RNIB. We want to reduce the number of people who lose their sight as a result of diabetes. The work began as a joint project between RNIB and the NHS in Airedale and Bradford.


At the moment we are seeking four GP practices to join the project that has developed so far. Details can be found in the brochures below - the offer and overview; the folder contents; and the Key Messages leaflet - as well as two blogs that were written as the project developed in 2012.


NB If the interactive brochure isn't 'interactive' when you first open, close and try again or download.

Appreciative way to spread 5 key messages

Yesterday, thirteen people met together to design a programme of activities to spread the 5 Key Messages about diabetes eye care. The different perspectives in the room included: health practitioners, health research, optometrists, health trainers, the community, and voluntary sector. 

We used Appreciative Inquiry (AI) to help us to think about what would need to happen to spread the messages successfully.

Appreciative Inquiry asks us to notice the very best of what works in relation to a particular issue - in this case spreading health messages across a community; and to explore what else might be needed to do this even more successfully. Then using the very best examples and the additional ideas, a picture can be developed of what success would look like. When we know what we are aiming for, then we can design the right steps to take us in that direction. 

Our workshop gathered the very best examples of spreading health messages through:
- community venues and networks; 
- GPs, Opticians, Pharmacists, and Hospital Outpatients; 

To these each participant added their own ideas.

Three pictures were created showing what needs to be done to spread the messages successfully.  

Designing Five Key Messages

At the end of February, the first workshop was held to develop 5 Key messages. These are messages which we want staff across the health and social care system to communicate to people with diabetes about how to care for their eyes.

This was the first of three workshops through which, in addition to the Key Messages, we will develop a self-care document and a dissemination programme.

The methodology is that used by product designers. It consists of:

- research/observation

- synthesising all that has been learnt

- brainstorming ideas

- creating prototypes to test with relevant people

We had a really useful session and produced three prototype sets of messages. They cover a range of possible messages. The ways in which they differ, reflect the debate people had around the tables about:

-  how much the messages should focus on eyes, rather than messages about diabetes as a whole;

-  how hard hitting they should be, in the light of the research that showed that people who do attend the Diabetic Retinopathy Screening service are motivated by not wanting to lose their sight;

-  how to be visually creative about how the messages are presented

-  how many messages we should have- from several through to 1 message

-  how to  ensure the messages are persuasive and contain action that people can take for   themselves.

The prototypes are now being mocked up by an artist and will then be shared with colleagues and people with diabetes to gather their feedback. We will be asking people to tell us what they like about the prototypes and what else could be done to improve them. A small group of participants from the workshop will then re-work the messages in the light of the feedback.




Community Design in Barnsley

The two-day design workshop involved parents living in one of the most disadvantaged neighbourhoods in South Yorkshire. The task was to consider how parents could work as full partners with public services to improve the life chances of families. The process included Appreciative Inquiry and Human Centred Design methods.


The twelve parents had never done anything like this before. The parents worked as part of a design group with public agencies’ staff. 

Together they spent the first day sharing their knowledge; developing their vision for what needs to happen; and identifying the research they needed to do before the second workshop. At the second workshop they synthesized their findings and developed three prototypes.


To the surprise of the staff, the parents saw that their role in a partnership to improve the future for their families, was to create a strong, healthy community. They wanted a community where people were a strength and a resource for one another. Their prototype reflects that conclusion.


The Village Fundraising Week- this prototype was developed by a group made up of all the parents. In preparation the parents had been out researching current state of community activities in their village.


In developing their prototype, they applied the insights that they had had, as they reflected on what their research had revealed:

-       that anything they did should help to build community spirit;

-       that it should encourage themselves and others to get involved with current activities or to create new ones;

-       that it should provide a way to support the people already running activities and help the activities to be self-sustaining;

-       that it should offer people the chance to have new experiences or to learn new things.


Applying these insights, they came up with the idea of a week each year where the community would fundraise for itself, from within itself. The fundraising activities would be the sorts of activities that would build community spirit and the relationships between people. Activities would offer people a chance to share their skills for a small fee. People would be encouraged to volunteer as the different groups showcased their work. There would be information about the wide range of activities that go on in the village. The fundraising activities would help people to have some new experiences.


The tangible outcome would be a Village Money Pot which groups would be able to apply to for funding to sustain their work when necessary. A Money Pot created by the people, for the people, without recourse to the Council or other funders.