Integrated healthcare models are being experimented with in many jurisdictions as a way to improve patient care and lower system costs. This commentary presents early lessons from one Ontario Health Team as it works towards new models of care. The authors recount early discussions on developing an integrated health services network, how funding for "winter surge initiatives" became an opportunity to test ideas and how these experiences are informing current planning. Some of the early lessons learned include the value of trusted relationships, moving care upstream and framing problems as collective challenges.