Bringing Change with BIF: From Summit to Now

By Sara Porcaro | February 5, 2019

Photo Credit: Business Innovation Factory

When making a change, it's easy to see where one is, and to see where one wants to be in the future--but the transition in between requires careful planning and, most importantly, action. Under the leadership of Rhode Island College's Sherlock Center, and the guidance of the Business Innovation Factory, Perspectives, West Bay, the Groden Center, Looking Upwards, and Whitmarsh have all come together to do just that: make a plan and take action for the future of disability services in Rhode Island!

After BIF's 2018 Annual Collaborative Innovation Summit, the Sherlock Center and five local human services agencies met regularly with BIF innovation experts to discuss the state of Rhode Island's disability services and build a brand-new model for how those services are delivered. From September to early January, meetings between the involved parties covered a great expanse of activity: from BIF gathering information on how individuals receiving supports feel about the current model to creating (and seeking community feedback on) a prototype of the future model.

Senior Director Kim Einloth notes: "My favorite meeting was the 'Synthesis Meeting,' where BIF shared the data from the 'User Research' segment. It was eye-opening, and it gave us a place to start working towards improvement with the new model."

That User Research segment gathered data from 10 individuals--2 from each agency--ranging from 19 to 69 years old. During this research period, BIF experts conducted interviews, shadowed individuals in daily routines, and had individuals complete activities to illustrate their dreams and goals for the future. The results were clear, inspiring the path for the new model: one where individuals decide what it means to be independent, what their dream life looks like, and how they want to get there.

"The experience fit nicely in the knowledge we've taken from other experiences with the Sherlock Center, person-centered planning classes, and other resources," says Senior Director Andrew McQuaide. "It confirms the truth we have: that everyone should be in charge of their own lives."

With representatives from each agency coming together with this information, the BIF experts guided the framework necessary to not just tweak, but fully reimagine the way disability services are delivered. These professionals completed various activities, such as engaging in "rapid design sprints" and brainstorming organizational changes within each agency's structure, as well as storyboarding potential outcomes of new service models.

Einloth says, "We were 5 agencies, all with a unique culture, coming together and realizing our common goal: to provide the best services we can for individuals with disabilities in Rhode Island, together."

On the overall experience with BIF, McQuaide notes, "We all took something away from this experience that's affected our practice, and it's been a privilege to see and experience the innovation methods that have brought new ways of operation to so many [organizations]."

Now, with the Community Critique portion finished, the Sherlock Center and these 5 agencies are waiting for the final report from BIF on the new business model.! From here, it's the Sherlock Center's leadership that will guide Perspectives and our peers into a new age of disability services. After taking the steps to create a new future, the goal of truly individualized and person-centered care is at our doorstep, and we're proud to have been a part of the journey!