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The Tackling Inequality in Diabetes Lab

Our current social innovation programme is a bottom-up, strategic response to improve outcomes for people with diabetes who experience inequalities in their diabetes care. 

Our 2022 Lab is now in progress

Find out what our current participants are working on

Stay up to date with our process in our blog


Context 

Based on factors outside their control, people living with diabetes experience systematic, unfair and avoidable differences in their diabetes, the care and treatment they receive and the opportunities they have to lead healthy lives. 

How do we begin to make sense of the harm inequality does to people with diabetes? Diabetes does not affect everyone equally and the interactions between different kinds of inequality, and the factors that drive them, are often complex and interrelated. 

We also know that inequalities related to ethnicity and deprivation can lead to some of the poorest outcomes for people with diabetes. Furthermore, the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic on inequalities are likely to be profound. This inequality in diabetes should not be inevitable.  

This Lab focuses on addressing the challenge: How can we tackle inequality in diabetes? 

What is the Lab? 

The Lab is an environment where the people involved in the system come together to develop and test responses to complex challenges.   

Our Lab is: 

  • Social - our participants engage with each other and the communities they serve to share knowledge, their learnings and build relationships  
  • Experimental - our participants use an ongoing, iterative approach to address their challenges and prototype a portfolio of responses. If something isn’t working, they don’t keep doing it
  • Systemic - By taking a step back and viewing the system they are trying to influence, the prototypes developed by our participants go beyond mitigating symptoms to address the root cause.  

How it works  

Teams enter the Lab with an understanding of the inequalities that exist in their local area and how these inequalities are affecting people with diabetes. Participants work with our facilitators and coaches to determine whether the Lab approach will work for them. 

Critical to the process, participants form a Lab community through which they share learnings and draw on expertise from others. Workshops provide touchpoints for teams to review progress, share learnings and plan the next steps to give focus to the time between workshops. 

Between workshops, teams deepen their understanding of their local context, establish the resources they need to tackle the challenge and connect with a network of people at the heart of the challenge. This period in-between workshops is called a ‘sprint’. 

Participants also work with communities to design, develop and test prototypes. Throughout the Lab process, participants continue to test, tweak and implement the prototypes and identify actions required to scale up their final response. 

This Lab is scheduled to run until February 2023.

Who can take part? 

Diverse teams committed to tackling inequality in diabetes. 

Please read through our Lab team criteria for more information about our team recommendations. 

What are the results? 

  1. An extraordinary community of people committed to tackling inequalities in diabetes
  2. Teams equipped with the skills and practices to tackle inequality in diabetes
  3. A positive impact on the lives of people living with diabetes who experience inequality within 18 months of launch

Interested? 

Our Tackling Inequality Lab is now closed. Thank you to everyone who expressed their interest in joining. Once we have finished running our exploratory sessions, we will review all submitted applications and send out our decisions by June 6th.

If you have any questions about the process or would like to be involved in the Lab in an alternative capacity, please email changelabs@diabetes.org.uk and one of our team would be happy to have a conversation with you. 

Timeline of Lab recruitment. Signs up close on 6th May. Exploratory sessions held on April 28th and May 12th. We will review applications on a rolling basis.

This is a Diabetes UK project. Boehringer Ingelheim and Abbott have partnered with Diabetes UK and provided funding for this project and input into its development. There was no involvement or influence in its conceptualisation or delivery.

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