Danny Ryan

Danny Ryan 

National Medical Director’s Clinical Fellow, Kaleidoscope Health & Care and President Elect, Federation of Orthopaedic Trainees in Europe (FORTE)

Ten Top Tips for networks

1. A network needs to have a clear purpose, linked to the day job of participants, with relevant data.

2. It needs to feel safe and fun to be part of, trust is essential.

3. Leadership needs to come from the community so that participants have autonomy and feel shared ownership.

4. Take participants beyond their normal boundaries. Constant stimulation will promote creativity and new ideas.

5. Make events as interesting and interactive as they can be, whether face-to-face or digital.

6. Show value to participants.

7. Ask for feedback – constantly.

8. Act on the feedback you receive.

9. Set evaluation points for your network, and be honest about asking if you are really on your way to achieving your purpose.

10. Know when your purpose has been achieved and celebrate the fact. It may mean the end of your network, but not the end of the relationships that have developed or the effect that your work will have in the long-term.

Book or other recomendations

Legacy – James Kerr Lessons for leadership as told through the restructuring of the New Zealand All Blacks rugby union team under Graham Henry, who went on to become one of the most successful teams in global sport. No hyperbole, just a real sense of how to motivate by tapping into existing culture and beliefs.

Recomend another network leader

Chris McCarthy – executive director and founder of the Innovation Learning Network

Danny's blog

As a National Medical Director’s Clinical Fellow (through the Faculty of Medical Leadership and Management), I have been incredibly fortunate to be placed at Kaleidoscope Health & Care, a social enterprise which brings people together to improve health and care, enabling constructive conversations on difficult topics. We look to find ways to encourage clarity of purpose and rigorous problem solving, with supporting effective networks being one of our main methods. The Kaleidoscope approach to networks is informed by our international Network Faculty, as well as Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, who specialise in the development of learning networks that can provide improvement in outcomes above and beyond the mere application of research.

My ‘day job’ is working as a registrar in trauma & orthopaedic surgery, and somewhere in the distant past, after working with the British Orthopaedic Trainees’ Association, I become involved with the Federation of Orthopaedic Trainees in Europe (FORTE), and am now the President Elect. Our membership includes any resident who is a member of their national association, but, despite being founded back in 2005, we have struggled to engage members in any meaningful way, though our research shows that training across Europe is extremely diverse. Some residents have very little access to structured educational resources, and, along with the European Federation of Orthopaedics and Traumatology (EFORT) and the European Union of Medical Specialists (UEMS) we have been working on a standard training curriculum. So how has my current role helped with development at FORTE?

Kaleidoscope have defined five principles for creating a successful network (more detail can be found in our Networkfest webinar series), and here is how we have applied them at FORTE:

1. Set a common purpose, linked to the day job of the participants.

FORTE was founded with five main aims, at the core of which lie the improvement of education and training for residents across Europe. Whether a resident or a consultant surgeon, quality of education and practice are central to good patient care.

2. Create a network that is safe and feels fun to be part of.

Developing trust is crucial to the survival of any network: it is the glue that binds members. At the centre of the network is a committee that have been around for long enough to have knowledge of the landscape of training, with the annual Summit and session at the EFORT Congress being key in meeting members to share this, as well as ensuring that we are able to arrange social gatherings. Delivering on projects, such as the Summer School, has been crucial to gaining the trust of members.

3. Leadership needs to come from the community.

FORTE is run by residents, for residents. EFORT is the parent organisation, but very much allows FORTE to run independently with no interference.

4. Take participants beyond their normal limits.

FORTE provides opportunities for our members to push themselves: either through educational events, research, or joining the board with new ideas. We are constantly looking for members to share whatever they are doing as it could inspire or offer opportunity to someone else in the network.

5. Have the best events possible, whether face-to-face or digital.

Before 2015, the board of FORTE met once a year, at the EFORT Congress. In 2015, the first Autumn/Winter Summit was held, bringing together over 20 national representatives. In 2016, we held the first ever European Summer School for T&O residents in Faro, Portugal, with over 110 residents from 20 countries. The educational programme was fully supported by the European specialist societies and EFORT, with participants in the majority sponsored by their national associations. In 2017, the second Summer School had over 120 residents from over 20 countries. The opportunities to build connections were huge, and already a number of members have arranged fellowship visits (the inspiration for our upcoming Fellowship Platform), regularly share cases and knowledge and have even been on holiday together! In 2018, there will be four face-to-face events for members, including social events, the most that FORTE has hosted in a one-year period.

Arranging the face-to-face events has been our major success, and really allowed us to tie together the five factors above. Already leaders are beginning to emerge from countries where FORTE has traditionally had no presence, such as Croatia and Montenegro. We are beginning to see increasing activity among members, as well as improving relations with other organisations as they see the value that we can bring, but FORTE still has a long way to go. Using the Kaleidoscope principles has allowed us to evaluate what we are doing and to develop a more systematic approach to organisation, which has helped FORTE into a position where, for the first time, we are close to becoming sustainable.