What can we do this afternoon?

“Well that was a good discussion. Thank you all for coming. We’ll be in touch with some dates for the next few meetings.

"And I’ll ask Katie to work on a matrix to send out for comment.

"We would like to publish our report one year from now. So we’ve got a tight timeline that we’re working towards”.

Sound familiar?

I call it death by chat and bureaucracy. I know big systems have to operate in a particular way. And I know it’s complex. And that changing them takes time.

I’m on boards where I have watched this first-hand. But where’s the antidote? There are still teenagers with nowhere to sleep tonight. And communities that are too scared to call the police. And a new Mum who is too anxious to leave the house.

A report 12 months from now is too late. Don’t we also have a responsibility to do something this afternoon? And not the same old thing that clearly isn’t working? But to try something new that might?

“I’m not sure what Problem Solving Booths set out to do. But I can show you the results”

Someone from a local council stumbled across one of our Problem Solving Booths. She got in the booth and she got out. She was beaming.

She said that it had reminded her that there are things we can just get on and do. She felt newly inspired to go back and do just that. The big system stuff was important but she’d got a bit lost within it. Bingo.

Problem Solving Booths had nudged something. Reminded people that there are things we can all do. And now. There wasn’t a matrix in sight. Or a report. And I hope there never will be. What we need is informed action. And a “yes, and… ” mind-set to get on with it today.

In our first Problem Solving Booth film, Chief Superintendent Raj Kohli, asked a young woman to help him. He wanted to know how to better support young people’s mental health.

“Have conversations that don’t feel like conversations,” she said. “Talk to them out in your cop car”. And that’s just what he did. And it’s working.

This inspires me. And will surely be more effective than the hours I spent talking in rooms at Westminster. Perhaps it will even influence Westminster. Now, there’s a thought.

“So, what is it that Problem Solving Booths are doing again, Charlie?” “I’m not exactly sure. But I can give you a whole bunch of examples.”

This is the final part of a five-part series explaining the concept of Problem Solving Booths. For more information visit www.problemsolvingbooths.com

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