Take the train from platform 3DE…How do you jump through a brick wall and come out the other side in one piece?

Claire Cater, 27 February, 2015

It’s funny (and perhaps just a little bit sad?) how watching a group of Japanese tourists having their picture taken at the famous Harry Potter platform 9 3/4 at Kings Cross this week made me think of NHS redesign. No seriously, I did.


It made me wonder how many NHS communications professionals or even management consultants don’t even know that a new, largely undiscovered platform exists, let alone found their way onto the concourse and boarded the train.

The train has left

I call it platform 3DE – and it’s where the health system engagement train departs. The practice of involving communities and healthcare professionals in redesigning services has changed almost beyond recognition in the last three years or so.

The days when you wheeled in a big-name consultancy to craft an options appraisal and then engaged the comms professionals to carry out a meaningful (and hopefully legally watertight) engagement have long gone.

It’s more transfiguration and configuration

In today’s increasingly connected world, where influence and power is wielded at an individual as much as an organisational level, planning is no longer the first step on the road to reconfiguration. Well, it’s more like ‘transfiguration’ which Professor McConkey could teach us. There is no simple ‘Sorting Hat’ sadly.

3DE – or three dimensional engagement – is the new party in town, the one everyone should go to. And too many worthy and ambitious reconfigurations (I do hate that word) have fallen by the wayside because of a failure to acknowledge and embrace it.

It’s about getting under the skin of people & place

Effective 3DE involves getting under the skin of the social connections that underpin any system change. It means understanding the cultural, political, geographical, practical and personal drivers that bind the delivery of health and care services into people’s everyday lives, professional practice and voluntary support. It means ‘showing rather than telling’ in order to build genuine understanding.

The more forward-thinking communications, management and engagement professionals know that this major shift has taken place and that no one person has all the answers.

Some know that platform 3DE exists but don’t know where to find it. Others are at the entrance staring at the wall (or having their pictures taken like the tourists!).

Are you on the platform? Can you walk through the wall?

Some – and we at SK  (The Social Kinetic) count ourselves among this number – have found the platform and got on the train with our Wizards and Witches.

And because we’re on the lookout for great like-minded and magical folk, we’d like to know who wants to get on the train with us. Are you a one off like Harry, do you have the values and spirit of Hermione, are you more Dumbledore that Dobby?

If you’re here, perhaps in another carriage, get in touch – owl, email or phone. We’d like to see your spells and if you’re up for a game of ‘quidditch’ that would be good too. For more on our latest roles go to our recruitment page , get in touch on 020 3397 1141 or email henrietta@thesocialkinetic.com

have found the platform and got on the train with our Wizards and Witches.