Small changes really can make a big difference

The recent Smarter Learning for Self-directed Support Conference invited everyone to think about the small things they can do to make a big difference to someone’s life. 

The event took place in Edinburgh in late February and the day consisted of a range of presentations and workshop sessions designed to get everyone thinking about how they can help people to take more control over their own support.  The power of good conversations and listening to, and learning from, supported people and their families was an important message throughout the day.

What’s your morning routine?

Donna Allan and the team from East Ayrshire Council opened the event by asking everyone to write down their personal morning routine.  What do you need to do to get ready each morning?  What is important to you?  Coffee with milk?  Quick shower?  Toast with butter and jam?

We then swapped our routine with someone else’s.  What impact would it have on you if you weren’t in control of your morning and had to fit in with somebody else’s schedule?  While some people were happy with their ‘new’ routine, the majority were not.

“I’m going to have to do a three mile run before breakfast, and I hate running.”

What’s your lightbulb moment?

We asked everyone to share their lightbulb moment for self-directed support (SDS) to prompt discussion about things they had done or want to do.  We’re still collecting lightbulb moments so if you’d like to share yours you can post it on Twitter with the hashtag #scbd15.


“People’s experiences need to drive service change, not professional experts. Finding ways to make that a reality is hard but we need to make those changes now”


“Knowing the smallest thing about a person can make a huge meaningful impact on that person’s life if we listen.”


Helping staff to see SDS as an approach and not a service. Talk with people, not at them.

Helping staff to see SDS as an approach and not a service. Talk with people, not at them.

Open Badges and sharing our learning

One of the big themes from the day was how can we share and learn together more effectively.  One way of recognising and rewarding people’s learning is through Open Badges.  Open Badges are digital certificates which recognise learning and achievement.  You can find out more about Open Badges on our Open Badges website.  Even if you were unable to attend the event, you can still earn your Activator Badge for sharing your learning.

Experience some of the learning from the event through Storify

During the event, we asked everyone to use Twitter to share their ideas.  Our colleagues from the Institute for Research and Innovation in Social Services (IRISS) have pulled together some of these tweets into an online record of the day using a free tool called Storify.

Find out more about the Smarter Learning event, including video clips, case studies, learning from the workshops and lightbulb moments on our Storify page.

Continue the discussion

There will be more discussion about smarter learning and we’ll be sharing more learning from the event online during SDS Awareness Week from 30 March to 3 April.  So please join the conversation on our Yammer network.

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