Innovation: From the Printing Press to Adult Social Care | QCS

Innovation: From the Printing Press to Adult Social Care

January 29, 2018

In 1440 Johannes Gutenberg’s printing press improved on existing machines and, 60 years later, 1,000 Gutenberg presses were operating in Europe. The printing press became important in the rise of Protestantism, the Thirty Years War, the English Civil War…and the rest is history.

The Gutenberg Press was a key worldwide innovation. But it started on a small scale, and therefore needed to be scaled up.

And that’s the point about our new report. The briefing explains that innovative, often small-scale models of health, social care and support for adults can and should be scaled up to benefit as many people as possible.

Putting Innovation on the Map

We’ve produced a map which depicts a place in the future where promising innovative models have been scaled up across a broad range of service areas, from prevention to helping people home from hospital. It also indicates where people – or groups of people – receive excellent, joined up, health, care and support, and which link to stories describing the experiences of these people.

Like Andrew. Andrew, aged 66, started drinking. His wife had died two years earlier and he suffered depression. But a GP referral gave him a ‘social prescription’ and then volunteers supported Andrew away from alcohol. He then had a nasty fall and a local micro-enterprise, that provides care at home, called in on him to see if he was OK – and took him to the café when he was on the mend. Now Andrew volunteers himself; for the local football team.

Whole Life Experiences

What we’re proposing is that small-scale, community-supported, innovative care models – like the one Andrew’s benefitted from – have to be grown so that people like Andrew everywhere can get the care and support that they need. All of this needs to look at people’s entire health, care and support. This can be shaped through strength-based conversations that seek to address a whole person’s life, rather just assessing a narrow set of needs.

Services also need to be co-produced with the people whose lives they touch. This means that everyone involved identifies priorities, co-designs services and systems; and then works together wherever possible to co-deliver the work that takes place. And this also means having a flourishing range of community assets and peer networks, focused on building the knowledge, skills and confidence of people to self-manage their care. There’s plenty of other ideas that we put forward, for instance, devolving budgets so that choice and control over care and support is maximised.

Would Johannes Print this Report?

The briefing is based on research conducted during the spring by SCIE, Nesta, Shared Lives Plus and PPL. And if you want to print a version you can get a MySCIE account, download it for free and print it off. How impressed would Johannes Gutenberg have been with that? And I’m sure that he’d have embraced the scaling up of innovation in care and support.

SCIE: Growing innovative models of health, care and support for adults

placeholder Image
Ewan King

Director of Business Development and Delivery (SCIE)


July 18, 2024
Things can only get better for CQC and providers
Read more
July 17, 2024
Health & Safety Podcast: The Concept of Positive Risk Taking
Read more
placeholder Image
July 16, 2024
Our growing commitment to care
Read more