PGOsupport works from the conviction that care, welfare and research must meet the needs of the people concerned: people with a disorder or disability. It helps patient associations and other patient movements to increase the impact on the quality of life of the specific patient group they focus on. PGOsupport is an advisor to many patient associations and research centers in order to reach the target group and thus bring the collective voice of the patient or client to the fore. Dries Hettinga, director of PGOsupport, adds: “These associations use the experiential expertise of patients themselves to improve care and well-being based on their voice. We have been assigned by the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport to help patient associations in this. We have organizational consultants and trainers who help them with matters such as strategy, volunteer policy and fundraising. We also offer a suitable range of training courses and PGOsupport advises on constituency consultation. As a patient association, you need to know what is going on with your target group in order to keep people involved, to attract them and to tailor your offer accordingly.” And that also applies to an organization like PGOsupport; in order to gear our services properly to the questions of our patient associations, as a director I need to know what is going on among my stakeholders, those very patient associations. Those insights helps me as a director to make choices in our range, to focus and thus to work towards our own impact.

Consult background

The CircleLytics online dialogue has been developed from the need to collect weighted answers based on in-depth, open questions to a large group of people, completely anonymously. The answers given in the first round are learned from and assessed by the participants in the second round, so that it is clearly measurable after this round, which answers and ideas are appreciated the most but also the least. Moreover, the participants build on each other’s ideas, emerging new, leading perspectives and outcomes. This is impossible to accomplish with regular single round surveys. Unique AI ensures that they do not have to read and appreciate all the ideas of others, but a group of 10-15 that is as varied as possible. In this way, the best solutions are created through this use of the collective intelligence of the participants and based on maximizing diversity of thought. Insights also regularly surface that would otherwise remain hidden, if you limit listening to workshops and surveys, and would therefore remain undiscussed.

Spaarne Gasthuis: “The dialogue is anonymous and promotes the development of creative, different ideas. The response from the dialogue is high and we notice that the percentage only increases as soon as people participate in a dialogue more often. The second round of the dialogue encourages reflection in yourself and others.” Read more here.

Use dialogue for multiple purposes

Hettinga: “We have various methods to reach target groups and advise our clients in this. One thing is crucial here: Which question do you want to be thought about and answered? We have now used the dialogue for some time to gain input about and support for our own services, the internal organization and we also offer this to our customers as a method of consulting their members and patients. As a director, I therefore ask open questions to understand what is (most) important, what is considered important, and what is less important. Results from the dialogue provide a solid foundation for decision-making and prevent unnecessary mistakes. Knowing what people reject and why, is as crucial as knowing what they support.”

If you want to ask a broad audience and if brief answers or simple closed answers suffice, a static, regular survey is fine. However, we also notice that the number of members of patient associations is declining, and surveys didn’t help to prevent that. How do you know precisely what is going on with your members and stakeholders if only a small part of your target group is a factually still a member of your organisation? Why are they leaving in the first place or considering to do so? What do they need and in what form do they want to see it? As an association you want to be able to respond to this, so that you keep people involved and enthuse new people to become a member. You want to fulfil a sustainable and relevant role. In the short and long term.”

Online dialogue for deepening

Hettinga continues: “At such a moment it is appropriate to talk to each other online and ask in-depth questions that provide more insights, collect ideas and stimulate participants to (re)consider. That is why we offer the online dialogue to the associations we work for, where participants join at their own preferred moment. We have devised questions that fit well with patient associations and, based on our knowledge and experience, we guide them in using this elevated dialogue solution. A good question invites, challenges and makes you think. Not only about your own answers, but also about those of others who think differently.”

If you want to know more about how CircleLytics Dialogue works, schedule your appointment here. If you are reading this because you are involved in a patient organisation, please contact PGOsupport directly. You can do that here.

Keep in touch online

PGOsupport would like to continue to meet the needs of their customers and understand what they consider important and what not. She therefore uses the dialogue to collect ideas based on customer needs. Hettinga: “We have invited various customers to structurally think about our own services. First we need to understand where the needs lie. The response is high and we elaborate on the most valued ideas, so that participants see what we do with their answers. For example, one of the results of a dialogue held among our stakeholders was that they missed an offering for advanced professionals. We suggested a course, but there appears to be a need for some form of intervision. Now we look at the form in which we can deliver that intervision. Because we enter into a dialogue and it is very easy to use, we can make choices more easily and design matters that fit what our customers want. Exactly what our mission stands for. And as a director I avoid making decisions that don’t land: I’d rather know in advance than afterwards. As far as I’m concerned, making a good decision starts with listing the most important options. I list these by being open to the perspectives of others who (may) think differently than I do.”


Well-founded analysis

Hettinga continues: “Our first own internal dialogue was about working from home, the pros and cons. I have also experienced it myself, the second round makes your participation more active, it stimulates your own thinking. You read answers and ideas from others and that increases your creativity. In the case of a survey, as director I receive the answers from the survey and I have to make an analysis of this. In the dialogue I have a more well-founded analysis, because the participants have already given a certain interpretation to the reactions of colleagues. The dialogue has already taken into account the collective knowledge and experience of colleagues and as a result I am better informed, I know what feeling prevails and what they really think is important. The chaff has been separated from the wheat. By themselves. Based on that, I can better decide what the next step should be. Isn’t that what every leader wants?

You can reach PGOsupport here and ask questions about consultation, dialogue and involving members in your association or other questions. If you would like to get acquainted with CircleLytics Dialogue and schedule a demo, you can do so here.

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