Hosted by Cardiff and Vale University Health Board, as part of the Dragon’s Heart Institute in partnership with the Billions Institute, the Academy is an immersive three-day training event open to teams from all Welsh Health Boards and NHS Trusts.

For the first time the October 2021 Academy will be open to applications from teams in private industry. Small and medium-sized enterprises with a particular focus on health, health innovation, and social justice are encouraged to apply. We are also welcoming applications from teams made up of a mix of public and private sector delegates, especially from cross-sector teams who have collaborated on an innovative service or piece of technology in health and social care.

We are delighted that the Spread and Scale Academy is returning for autumn 2021 and we are anticipating that it will be held in person in Cardiff (pending the COVID-19 situation at the time of the event).

This will be the third Spread and Scale Academy hosted by Cardiff and Vale University Health Board and the Dragon’s Heart Institute in partnership with the Billions Institute (Becky and Joe pictured left), a Los Angeles-based organisation which specialises in supporting innovators to unleash their potential and make large-scale meaningful change.

Places on this 3-day Academy cost £1,500 + VAT per person but those who work in NHS Wales and the publicly-funded social care sector in Wales will have their full course fees covered by All-Wales Intensive Learning Academy for Innovation in Health and Social Care.

The Academy will be held in Cardiff on the 6th, 7th and 8th of October 2021 with a venue to be confirmed. There will also be a virtual pre-work session held on the 13th September between 4.30pm and 6pm.

Applications are now closed.


What do I need to apply?

You need four things to apply to the Spread and Scale Academy:

  • A developed small-scale project
  • A team of 3 – 6 members
  • The motivation to unleash your project at scale
  • The desire to be a leader for change.

When completing an application, you will be asked for you and your team members’ details including any accessibility requirements and details about your project, specifically the questions below:

  • Your project’s name
  • Please provide a brief description of your successful small-scale improvement or innovation project. In your answer please include the problem it was trying to solve.
  • Please explain where the problem is experienced. In your answer please consider both who experiences the problem (i.e. is it a specific group of the population?) and their geographic location (i.e. is it experienced in particular area/organisation in Wales?)
  • Please describe any links your project has to NHS Wales strategic priorities.
  • Please provide an account of where and when your project was tested or implemented. In your answer include any evidence or data that shows how your solution solved the problem.
  • Please provide a summary of what your team intends to achieve through the spread and scale of this project.

If you want more information about the Spread and Scale Academy, scroll down for more information or contact the team by emailing to discuss.

Please note that applications for October 2021 are now closed. The Spread and Scale Academy will return in Spring 2022.


What does Spread and Scale mean?

The NHS workforce in Wales is passionate, motivated and developing more innovation and improvement projects than ever. This has been especially true during the COVID-19 pandemic with innovation happening almost everywhere to meet the needs of our patients and public.
Once your team has proved that your project is successful in your area, where do you take it next so that more people can benefit, and how?
Spread and scale is about widening the reach of your developed project and giving you the tools you need to lead adoption at scale across your organisation, region or across Wales. The Spread and Scale Academy can support you to take the next step, driving transformative change with strong leadership, good practice and new models on a national level.

You can listen to the Billions Institute explain the concepts of spread and scale in more detail on the Healthy Thinking podcast. There is also an episode recorded with the delegates of last year’s academy explaining their thoughts and feelings about what they learnt.

How does the academy work?

Teams of delegates bring an open mind, enthusiasm and energy to this immersive event. Delivered by international trainers from the Billions Institute, the programme is just as much about developing your personal skills and career potential as it is about developing your project.

The Billions Institute is the pioneer of the Model for Unleashing, which encourages innovators to ‘Dig Deep’ into their motivation for change and ‘Dream Big’ about where they’d like to take their project. You’ll gain the support you need to unleash your potential and lead the charge for large-scale change in your area.

What are previous delegates saying about the Academy?


“It made me see that I wasn’t wrong to think about trying to improve or thinking big. If anything, I needed to think bigger. I met people who internationally have achieved these amazing things and faced many of the same challenges in different guises, and I felt like I was on the right track. I was being affirmed and recognised as someone who has some valuable skills.”

Consultant in Palliative Care 


“Spread & Scale is a worthwhile investment of your time. You learn about the barriers to implementing innovation and how you can overcome them; it equips you with knowledge to be a better leader. It’s basically the best course you’ll go on. The principles we worked through are genuinely applicable to both personal and professional life and absolutely any innovation project. If you’re reading about spread & scale and considering it, stop thinking and apply already – you won’t regret it!”

Pre-Operative Assessment Pharmacist


“The event was really helpful, allowing me to do some networking, and the training taught me a lot about myself. The most important learning I took away was about recognising my attitude to implementing change and how this differs from other people – I realised I could often unwittingly block input from others. I found the personal journey quite emotional.”

Specialist Podiatrist

“It was the best thing I’ve attended in my career by a long way. It really helped us to realign our focus and do so around like-minded people. It took me out of my comfort zone, pushing me to explore how my personality and other personalities within the team could influence the outcome. These are all things you don’t normally consider, such as how can we make best use of people’s strengths and where will they need support to stay on track? It also got us to consider how we can get others outside the organisation to buy in and see the benefits of what we’re doing.”

Specialist Physiotherapist


“I’ve taken a lot of courses around leadership and development, but the Academy was one of the most valuable courses I’ve ever attended. It has been a year since the event, but I still remember what I learned very clearly, and it has informed the way I go about my day now. With Covid-19, we had no past experience to shape our thinking and it was quite overwhelming, but the Academy taught me to focus on what is important today. It has helped me to be more self-aware and think about how I react, so I can take a more considered approach.”

Director of Nursing


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