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A Day in the Life with Kez Spelman, Director of Innovation and Community Resilience

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  • 2023
  • February
  • A Day in the Life with Kez Spelman, Director of Innovation and Community Resilience
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The Podiatry team at Provide Community has recently acquired the use of Realwear Headsets, a newly designed piece of state-of-the-art technology that allows for seamless communication between teams of healthcare professionals. These headsets were made available to the team thanks to the lateral and creative thinking of our Innovation team at Provide Community, headed up by Director of Innovation and Community Resilience, Kez Spelman.

Kez has been leading innovation for Provide Community since June 2022, working with people and teams across the organisation to support innovation and transformation in service delivery. Kez is passionate about his work in enabling Provide to be agile, modern, and innovative as the organisation grows in size and influence.

1. What is your role within the Innovation and Community Resilience Department?
My job title is Director of Innovation and Community Resilience. The role is largely focused on supporting colleagues at Provide Community to develop ideas with the aim of bringing about improvements in services for people and communities and delivering a return to support our growth target.
A lot of the innovation work I’m involved with has the community in mind. At Provide, we make conscious decisions on how to make the future more sustainable through our innovative ideas and products, rather than just innovating for the sake of it. Alongside innovation for the future, our aim is to enable people to help themselves wherever they can; to reduce dependency and develop resilience and this is supported through our innovation process.

2. How long have you been in this role?
This role is fairly new. I started my current role in June 2022, but prior to this I was Assistant Director for Transformation and Innovation. I started my career as a nurse moving into sexual health as a specialism, so moving into this Innovation role has been a big step but an exciting one.
I now get to solve problems that are not going to be solved by anything other than people thinking creatively and learning together, which is an element of my job I really enjoy.

3. Where are you based?
I’ve recently been based at our Colchester Headquarters; however, it varies! I also move between St Peter’s Hospital in Maldon and Kestrel House in Chelmsford.

Whatever I’m working on during the week can determine where I am. I find that being in a room with people is much better for creative thinking and innovation, so I very rarely work from home.

4. Who do you work with?
Because of the nature of my job, I have the potential to work with everyone in Provide, so whomever I’m working with varies week from week. The Innovation Tree is a process that supports Provide staff to focus on innovative ideas and get support to make the idea develop. Working with key people who form the Provide Innovation Group, ideas are reviewed within a framework and projects are prioritised for further exploration and development. This allows us to rapidly test and refine ideas to get the best outcome, which is sometimes very different from what was initially expected. The Innovation Tree is supporting a number of projects that are gaining interest and attention.

There are people at Provide Community that I work closely with, such as Chris Wright, Michelle Parker, and Scott Peters who are both involved in business growth opportunities. I also work with people in the wider commercial team on a regular basis, as well as the Innovation Group which includes representatives from finance, governance, IT, business intelligence, and data.

5. How does your day typically start?
I love cycling and bicycles and for just over two years, I’ve been getting up at the crack of dawn, around 5 am, and starting my day off with a five-mile cycle. There’s never any traffic on the roads at that time so I can enjoy the morning fresh air. I then come home and meditate for 20 minutes which is something I repeat in the evening.

I was fortunate enough to have Provide support me and others in transcendental meditation as they offered it through their employee well-being option. I started five years ago and since then the positive effect has been noticed by friends and family. I don’t really know how it works; it just does.

6. What hours do you usually work?
Even though I work a typical Monday – Friday week, my working hours tend to vary, and I’m more often working flexible hours. If there are commercial deadlines looming, the team and I work to meet them

7. What sort of outcomes do you see in your job?
I’ve worked on a lot of different projects that aim to improve the services we offer to people, and these have all had different outcomes. One project we’re working on at the moment requires us to work closely with Provide Digital. We’re currently developing an app with the aim of improving the response times at Provide’s Carecall247 service so that people using the personal alarm technology will receive care and support in a timely manner.

Another interesting project I’ve been involved with is the integration of bone-conducting headphones into the Audiology team’s treatment for glue ears. Glue ear prevents children typically between the ages of two and six from hearing properly and is often treated by inserting grommets into holes made in a child’s eardrums. We’ve been encouraging children to start using bone-conducting headphones whilst waiting for their grommets to be fitted or their condition gets better as this has been seen to help them hear better. This is such a crucial project as it prevents children’s growth from being stilted because of a lack of awareness of their surroundings, and could potentially change the pathway of service delivery in the future.

8. What do you like best about your job?
The relationships that are created in the team are great. Creating innovation involves more than one person, so forging such fantastic relationships with my colleagues has been a real pleasure. A group working creatively together towards a common goal is really magical to be a part of, especially when we get to see the end result. I love it when a plan comes together!

9. How important is colleague support in your role?
It’s essential. I think I’m an extroverted social person so I would find my job incredibly difficult to do if I didn’t have a team of people to bounce ideas off of. Understandably, other people in the team prefer to be creative independently, but for me, colleague support is absolutely essential.
I also receive a lot of support from the Marketing and Communications team. It’s great getting to work closely with Chris Summers, the Director of the Marketing team, as I’m really interested in how our work is being presented to the public.

10. What would you like to see happen next in the Innovation team?
The key thing I’d love to see in the near future is for us to really get our message out there and engage with other departments across Provide Community, working with the Marketing Team. Some of the teams at Provide are not aware of the Innovation Tree, so it would be great to reach out and increase engagement with different groups of colleagues and become more proactive about innovation across the entire organisation.

I’d also love to focus on addressing loneliness and isolation for people whom we see through our domiciliary care services. I think creative thinking and innovation could really improve not just the lives of the service users and patients, but also the staff who support them.

11. If you could wave a magic wand for your department, what would your three wishes be?
1. A product development laboratory
2. More opportunities for people and communities to get involved in work we do and through that, we learn together and develop skills, reduce dependency and help people look after themselves.
3. An annual Provide Community Pantomime with no holds barred!

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