At the end of February we published the Wellthcare Manifesto. Having a Manifesto is probably grandiose, if not self-inflating and vulgar, but we wanted to bring our thinking together into a brief, easy-to-read, and hopefully powerful, statement.
At first we thought about publishing a ‘framework’ – the things you need to do to create Wellth – health-related value that sits latent in our networks, communities and contexts. However, we soon realised that we don’t yet know what you need to do. Indeed, just trying to answer that question made us realise that Wellthcare is not about knowing but about exploring – discovering what courageous people are doing on the frontlines, giving them a voice and then trying to find common themes that will embolden others to try.
In a way, the Manifesto acts as the guiding principles for the exploration. It acknowledges the importance of health care and prevention while pointing out their natural limitations. It tries to encourage us to think in new ways, especially when it comes to evaluating (and hence being able to value) ways to create health. And it makes the case that health care organisations cannot just keep telling people what to do (“top down”); nor can we expect communities to become health experts (“bottom up”); so we need to find new, collaborative approaches (“middle out” – a phrase I have stolen from John Vu of Kaiser Permanente, as described in this post).
Writing the framework-cum-Manifesto also helped us to better understand what we are doing. Sticking with the grandiose, Wellthcare has become a movement. Although modest, the steady rise in people signing up for the newsletter (see left), following us on Twitter, and agreeing to be interviewed supports this. We don’t know if it’s a social movement or some other kind of movement, we just know that everywhere we go people are agreeing that we need to both work out what ‘health creation’ is and develop a deeper understanding of communities so they can activate their latent ability to care for each other.
For the time being, the only way to ‘join’ the movement is to sign up to receive the Pioneer’s Log by email (the 'newsletter') or follow us on Twitter. Perhaps you can tell us what else we should be doing if Wellthcare is to continue to grow.
The Manifesto hopefully also makes clear that we don’t see health creation coming about by just sitting in our institutions pondering. There’s way too much of that going on already, as evidenced by the 24,000 biomedical journals in the world, most of which are full of poorly conducted research with indefensible conclusions (their only saving grace being that no one actually reads them). We have to get into the business of ‘doing’, and in so doing find new ways of thinking.
Will a Manifesto help to make health creation a reality? We don’t know. We just hope that people read it, perhaps share the PDF, think about it, discuss it with their friends and colleagues, and then either get into the business of doing or joining us – or both.
It’s so abundantly clear that health creation has to become a reality. If you’re reading this, you’re as responsible as anyone else. So join us, let’s work out how to make it happen.