Failing forward: the benefits of learning from failed projectsNews
'Sometimes, a delegate will get in touch and ask not to present their project because it hasn't been a success - but we learn just as much from failures as successes.
I always encourage them to come and present what went wrong and why - then we open it up to a room full of expertise and experience and the delegates and speakers who together have so many ideas of how to get around the problem, or what we could change in the future so that this might not go wrong next time.'
Sarah Gillett has been Managing Director of Parkinson's Academy since its inception, and has watched it evolve and develop over the past two decades. As we celebrate twenty years of Parkinson's education, her biggest take-home message is around the value of failure to shape and transform services, every bit as much as success.
From the early years of Parkinson's Academy when the focus was on consultant-level information and practical application, the range of roles and disciplines represented on Faculty, attending as speakers, and coming to learn has extended hugely, and currently there are nurses, therapists, pharmacists and other allied health professionals firmly represented at every level of the Academy. As a result, there is a real breadth of experience and service understanding present at any event or course, and the challenges that feel insurmountable from one perspective can have a number of potential solutions from various others.
Sarah is always very clear that her impetus for every Academy is for transformation, of practice, of services and of the lives of those experiencing life-changing conditions like Parkinson's. For her, learning from failure is an essential part of that transformation process, helping us to recognise the barriers to transformation and giving opportunities to find ways around them, so that future service change does not come up against the same stumbling blocks.
'The things you can't get from the books'
Parkinson's Academy, our original and longest running Academy, houses 20 years of inspirational projects, resources, and evidence for improving outcomes for people with Parkinson's. Led by co-founder and educational director Dr Peter Fletcher, the Academy has a truly collegiate feel and prides itself on delivering 'the things you can't get from books' - a practical learning model which inspires all Neurology Academy courses.