Hosting events is one of the best ways to grow an IHI Open School Chapter and keep members engaged. But it’s not always easy to know where to start. While no two Chapters are the same, we’ve put together a basic guide based on reflections from current and former Chapter Leaders on last month’s Global Chapter Network call.
Choose a topic
Set aside time with both your leadership team and members to brainstorm topics and ideas. Consider the stage of growth of your Chapter.
Are you a new Chapter? Think about hosting an event introducing QI basics or a networking event for new members to meet longstanding members. Sarah Jasim, former Chapter Leader at Imperial College London, underscored the importance of getting attendees on the same page. “Show a video or do something fun like a game, just to communicate the basic tenets of quality improvement to everyone.” (The Open School web site has a video library and game collection you can use. This video introduction to QI is a popular one.)
Chapters that have been established for some time should consider hosting leaders from partner organizations or hospitals, sharing examples of project work, and discussing potential initiatives for members to join.
Chapter Leaders can’t stress this enough — start your planning months in advance. Scheduling guest speakers and booking rooms often require early action to ensure availability. In addition, there’s no harm in planning back-up speakers — a lesson learned for one Chapter after a speaker suddenly cancelled when they got called into emergency surgery.
Feeling like you don’t know anyone to invite to speak? Your Faculty Advisor is an incredible resource and most likely knows people both on and off campus who would love to engage with students.
Worried about funding? The Open School accepts applications for event funding twice a year which can cover some of the basic costs.
Define roles and responsibilities
As you work through the planning stages of your event, identify point people for each part of the event. Having a leader assigned to each part of the event ensures that the work is being shared, and can help prevent duplicative work. Ryan Ho, a Chapter Leader at the University of Toronto, shares a reminder to “ensure information is shared between leaders” in order to run a successful event.
Finalize logistics, and keep the momentum going
On the day of the event, arrive early and make sure everything is set up. Remember to have a sign-in sheet to get all attendees’ contact information. Events are a great way to introduce new members to your Chapter!
Be sure to hold time to debrief your event right after it ends. Find out what attendees and leaders thought went well, and what they would want to change for future events.
Within a week of the event, send out an email thanking attendees for joining the Chapter at the event, and share details for your next meeting and opportunities for them to get involved right away. You don’t want to lose the momentum from your successful event!
Download the guide here.