James Munro of Patient Opinion kicked off the day. “My Public Services” day was about sharing experiences, ideas, architectures for engaging public services – both learning and sharing what has been learnt. That includes people inside, looking out and those outside, looking in.
James talked about how do we learn across the boundaries (something Patient Opinion has been battling with themselves). There is an opportunity to redefine public services, away from ‘users/recipients’ and ‘providers’ to a more equal metaphor, where everyone can contribute and choose – and to change services and to co-create new things. It isn’t clear how to do that yet, but it is an exciting possibility.
The Iron Bridge in Shropshire was the first iron bridge that was built. It was designed as if it had been built with wood, although it was cast in iron, because they didn’t know how to do anything else. It had mortice joints and all of the common construction features of wood. They used the metaphors of the old technology to build the new. In the same way the NHS and others think of The Internet as a big survey tool, or a way to sell people things. What we haven’t got yet are the new metaphors for services – which will be something very different.