Dragons Den and Wellbeing Teams

On Friday I had a deadline and a challenge. Could we describe what we are trying to achieve with Wellbeing Teams in just 250 words following a set format of questions? We were applying for the Dragons Den equivalent of social innovation, for a Global Innovation conference at Yale University. The cash prizes are attractive, but it is the opportunity to share internationally that made James and I work till midnight to meet the deadline.

The application required a clear statement of the problem backed by evidence, your proposed solution, the evidence, expected impact, the stage of the idea and what your ‘ask’ is. This is version 12.

Problem: Care for older and disabled people at home is not working for many people (25% increase in complaints, 25% services require improvement or are inadequate) or staff (staff turnover can be up to 40%, front-line pay is low typically on zero-hour contracts). Poor care at home contributes to greater demand on hospitals and long term care.


a) Improve people’s experience by creating small, neighbourhood self-managed teams to help people regain and retain independence and provide excellent compassionate person-centred care. Teams include Community Circle Connectors to help people be connected in communities doing what matters to them, and therefore reducing loneliness too.

b) Deliver improved staff experience through small teams, paid at or above living wage, who self-manage. Coaches support teams focusing on culture and fostering reliability, kindness, trust and creativity.

c) This is affordable through the self-management structure reducing layers of hierarchy and automating routine processes with bespoke IT.

Based in Evidence: Inspired by Buurtzorg, Netherlands who have 10,000 staff in similar teams and evaluation shows excellent satisfaction rates for people and staff, as well as low overhead costs of 8% against typical industry costs of 25%.

What is the Expected Impact? Improved quality of life for older and disabled people, reduced demand in the wider health and care system, better staff experience leading to lower turnover.

Describe Stage of Idea: Five teams in place testing model, formalising the franchise, and 10 further expressions of interest.

Your “ask”: We seek criticism, offers of support, partners and opportunities to expand.

Whether we are successful or not, the discipline of trying to explain the why, what and how of Wellbeing Teams was a good exercise. I would appreciate any suggestions to get to version 13 and improve it. Thank you.

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