Tag Archives: creativity

Portlethen Academy: Raising the profile of skills in learning and teaching.⤴

from @ Education Scotland's Learning Blog

Every classroom has a poster for Skills for Learning, Skills for Life and Skills for Work. Pupil-friendly definitions of these skills were produced by a working group of staff. Teachers are asked to make reference to these skills in their learning intentions and success criteria and in the content of the lesson itself. The impact of DYW is discussed in the videos:

Head Teacher

Young People

All S1 pupils are recording the development of these skills in a Skills Passport booklet during DCT. The main purpose of the booklet is to help the pupils document the skills they are developing, the subjects in which they use these skills and the evidence they have to support their judgements on how well they are progressing with particular skills in learning, life and work. The booklet also includes sections on profiling, SMART targets, reflection, mental health, recognising wider achievement, subject reports and self-evaluation.

The school has used several key methods to ensure that the strategy has the desired impact to the learners:

  • Researched examples of skills frameworks and received valuable input from Larbert High School after seeing their materials on the National Improvement Hub
  • Decided to develop their version of a skills framework and to link it to our tutor time programme for tracking purposes
  • Established a staff team to develop the framework and materials
  • Introduced the focus on skills to staff at collegiate session.
  • Introduced the focus on skills to pupils at year group assemblies.
  • Produced a set of posters for every classroom
  • Obtained feedback on reference to skills for learning, life and work through pupil focus groups where 5 pupils are selected form various year groups once a week.

The school believes that the changes have impacted on their learners, the key indicators:

  • Promoted skills development in learning and teaching
  •  Ensure staff are consistently embedding skills development in their classroom practice
  •  Ensure pupils know what skills they possess
  •  Helping pupils develop the ability to confidently articulate the skills they are developing
  •  Ensure pupils can utilise these skills across different subject areas
  •  Ensure pupils realise the value and importance of skills they develop in school and how these relate to the world of work

This is a journey for staff and young people, the key points are:

  • Staff are referencing skills development in their lesson planning
  •  Pupils are noticing the increased focus on skills and realising their value as they progress through the school
  •  Pupils are becoming more aware of how often they are using different skills
  •  Pupils are realising the value of transferrable skills
  •  Pupils are realising the importance of skills for their future careers

Porthlethen see DYW as integral and underpin out their work with young people by making the links between skills and the workplace. They refer to the school as just another workplace, which reinforces the link between education and skills for work. The skills framework has helped by providing a clear focus. It has allowed them to monitor it through their focus groups, and they can reference it more easily due to the visual nature of their posters. When they have speakers or reference areas of employment in their career of the week they ensure skills are highlighted.

Portlethen are working hard on partnership and engagement with industry. Curricular experiences through DYW include:

Breadth of careers
Mock interviews
Rural skills
Air traffic control
NHS
Enterprise day (S2)
Micro Tyco
MWOW ambassadors
Hospitality (chef of the week, Royal navy chefs)

Next Steps
They have started formally recording and documenting skills development and progression in S1. They are looking at creative ways to record and document skills development as this cohort become more mature and progress through the school. They will formalise the inclusion of skills development in lesson planning, learning intentions and success criteria to ensure a consistent approach by all staff.

For example, staff create a range of lesson starters focusing on particular skills. A pupil will then select a skill to be used in the lesson starter.

When asked for advice that they could pass to others, they suggested:

  • Having a visual display of the skills you are focusing on
  •  Reference skills in all aspects of the lesson where appropriate
  •  Help pupils realise the range of skills they possess
  •  Ensure pupils know which skills they are developing
  •  Help pupils transfer these skills to different contexts and subject areas

“The framework diagrams give me a key point of reference in planning lessons and for reference in class.” Teacher

“I like the framework because I can click on it and see what it means” S1 pupil

“Having the framework on your website helped me link my presentation to the skills required to work in the catering industry in a way that pupils could understand”  DYW presenter

Episode 16 – An EduBlether with David Cameron⤴

from

In this wide ranging interview, David Cameron shares his thoughts, experiences and wisdom. An exhilarating interview.

Listen to Episode 16 – An EduBlether with David Cameron.

DYW, helping to reshape the curriculum?⤴

from @ Education Scotland's Learning Blog

Does Developing the Young Workforce (DYW) provide schools with a mechanism to offer a wider range of subject choices in the Senior Phase?

This key question has been discussed in TES articles over the last few months. Here are  some of the key messages, with the emphasis on DYW and it’s potential impact on the curriculum and subject choice:

Subject Choice

“Local authority education bosses have hit back at suggestions that pupils in secondary schools are seeing their options narrow. In recent months there has been a high-profile debate about the number of subjects pupils are able to study in S4, but MSPs were told today that it can be misleading to look at this issue in isolation.”

 “Mark Ratter, who heads up quality improvement and performance at East Renfrewshire Council’s education services, said that, thanks to partnerships with colleges, universities and employers, as well as the Developing the Young Workforce national policy, there was actually now “a far greater choice” in what pupils could study. In one East Renfrewshire secondary school, for example, S5-6 pupils “have a choice of over 130 different courses”.”

“Tony McDaid, South Lanarkshire Council’s executive director of education resources, said you could understand parents comparing how many subjects different schools were offering at S4 and their “natural anxiety” around that. However, they reacted well when they heard that “this is not just about your fourth year, you can do another subject when you move into fifth year”, and that there was a focus on the career a pupil was ultimately heading towards and the qualifications they would gain “across the whole senior phase” from S4-6.”

 Work-based learning

“Angus Council schools and learning director Pauline Stephen said there was “an ongoing challenge” to communicate to pupils’ families the “shifting and different” education system that pupils experience in 2019. Dr Stephen cited new types of qualifications such as Foundation Apprenticeships, which were little known outside education circles and sometimes wrongly viewed as inferior to other qualifications.

Dr Stephen said that Brechin High, for example, had worked with a local roofing business to open a construction centre at the school, which “allows us to offer qualifications alongside an employer in partnership – it’s been really successful”.”

Developing the Young Workforce

“DYW is a ‘game-changer’ – and it has Curriculum for Education to thank for that”

“It’s a potentially misleading debate, however. The supposed narrowing of the curriculum is concerned with subject choices in the senior phase. Setting aside arguments about the extent to which this is happening, there’s a basic flaw in the reasoning: by looking only at subject choices – largely at National 5 and Higher – it misses what appears to be a widening of the curriculum in other ways.

 “This fixation with exams and academic subjects – plus ça change – ignores the fact that, in many schools, there is now a much richer range of opportunities. Last week, for example, I visited a secondary with a spaghetti junction of pathways for its senior pupils – where apprenticeships and college courses truly do have “parity of esteem” with university, to use the jargon – and a determination to bend the curriculum to individual aspirations. If that means pupils going to another school for a certain Advanced Higher or spending some of the week in college, or teachers setting up a work placement with an employer they’ve not dealt with before, then the school’s attitude is, so be it.”

 “Developing the Young Workforce may be an equally uninspiring, chosen-by-committee title. But whereas CfE is typically viewed as falling short, the reaction to DYW – a far newer kid on the block – feels very different. Visiting schools, I’ve been struck by how often it’s cited as a positive influence, a driver of cultural change that has gone beyond its initial promise to boost vocational education. For example, one special school depute head said that, while she wasn’t sure those behind DYW were really thinking of her sector, it was a “game-changer”, helping to create work and training opportunities for school-leavers with complex needs.”

Head teachers and the curriculum

“We are free to shape the curriculum,’ say Scottish heads”

“An investigation into whether Scottish headteachers have the freedom to tailor their school’s curriculum to the needs of their pupils has found that “almost all” heads believe they have that power.”

 “It adds that heads were, in most cases, “well supported” by their local authorities and “empowered to work with staff, pupils, parents and wider partners to design learner pathways which best suit the needs of their local community”.

 “It adds: “Most are taking account of Developing the Young Workforce (DYW) to deliver a curriculum which includes an understanding of the world of work and vocational pathways. However, there continues to be a need to increase progress in delivering DYW priorities and ensure that pupils and parents are aware of the range of vocational options and pathways available.”

I have added links to the full articles but free registration  is required for full access:

Pupils’ study choices expanding, not narrowing, say education bosses

Developing the Young Workforce will define Scottish education

We are free to shape the curriculum,’ say Scottish heads

 

TEDx Glasgow 2019: Ideas worth doing⤴

from @ Education Scotland's Learning Blog

Here is your opportunity to host a TEDxGlasgow livestream! The livestream will take place on the 14th of June between 9:15am and 3pm and will be hosted on YouTube. We have developed this toolkit as a handy guide with all the information you need to help with your livestream event including information on the tech specs required to host a livestream event; the rules around hosting; your role; the programme for the event and some FAQs.

TEDxGlasgow 2019 Livestream Toolkit

This year our theme is: Connection Whether it’s making them, breaking them, discovering them or searching for them, connections have shaped, and continue to shape, the world we live in. With the rapid advancements in technology, our world is more connected than it has ever been – physically, emotionally, digitally, scientifically and even metaphorically. Or is it?

The team at TEDxGlasgow focus on the TED ethos of sharing ideas, spreading knowledge, and supporting our community to translate this into bold, brave actions. Everything we do is attuned to generating a positive impact.

Gurjit Singh Lalli, shares his perspectives:

“What makes Glasgow unique are the people and their can-do spirit which is intoxicating.  Scotland has growth in both businesses and entrepreneurs who are focused, not only on profit, but making a positive social impact, which aligns to a passion of my own. I aspire for a future where companies compete on the amount of good they do through positive change and social initiatives; the TEDxGlasgow event is a platform that will strive to continue inspiring an atmosphere, both locally and nationally, where this can happen”

Creating a legacy through Ideas Worth Doing

Being involved with TEDxGlasgow offers partners, delegates, speakers and volunteers a unique opportunity to contribute to powerful conversations.  Either at our events or online, our talks have been seen by millions of people, and we’re passionate about supporting actions on ideas that matter.  We asked Pauline Houston, our Head of events shares her thoughts:

“Partnering with the right individuals and businesses can have an incredible impact on your organisation, and we’ve been fortunate to have great people behind our mission and events. I am proud of the fantastic reputation that Scotland has globally from passionate companies, ready to speak up and challenge ideas as they do with us at TEDxGlasgow, and look forward to driving more positive impact from continued collaboration in new ways” 

Researching the Impact of ideas

Our events provide a medium that combines a diverse range of people –  thinkers, doers and innovators coming together, ready to be challenged.  Designing a framework to measure outcomes from an event as unique as TEDxGlasgow has been an exciting experience, as well as an opportunity to hear directly from a wide range of individuals and organisations with amazing stories to share.  Zebunisa Ahmed, our Impact Lead offers her insights:

“Both as a volunteer and through a career in data visualisation, I’m driven by seeing how good ideas can make a difference if given a chance  – be that on an individual basis, organisationally or throughout society. As a team we want to inspire meaningful change, and I believe that good ideas can be vector for positive impact, spreading far beyond the event; it all starts with a conversation.”

The impact team get creative when measuring outcomes from the event and are keen to capture examples of the TEDx Glasgow community taking action, as seen in our impact report. We will continue monitoring how our ideas shared translate into actions with positive outcomes, and invite you to share your examples – the more personal or creative, the more we love hearing from you.

 

Scottish Traditional Building Forum Workshops⤴

from @ Education Scotland's Learning Blog

Secondary pupils from schools in Glasgow, Stirling, Perth and Edinburgh take part in traditional building skills event held at  various locations. The hands-on practical workshops provided 13 to 15 year olds with the chance to discover more about traditional skills apprenticeships, and allowed them to have a go for themselves. They tried their hand at stonemasonry roof slating, joinery and painting and decorating, expertly assisted by current Modern Apprentices in these trades. The event was hugely valuable in raising the profile of the vital skills needed to maintain our unique built heritage.

13 & 14 May

Traditional Building Skills Demonstration outside Edinburgh City Chambers

17 & 18 May

Traditional Building Skills Demonstration at STEM at The Helix

18 & 29 May

Traditional Building Skills Demonstration outside the Scottish Parliament

3 & 4 June

Traditional Building Skills Demonstration outside Glasgow Cathedral Square

20 to 23 June

Traditional Building Skills Demonstration at the Royal Highland Show, Ingliston

19 to 22 August

Edinburgh Traditional Building Festival (part of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe)

23 & 24 September

Traditional Building Skills Demonstration at Perth City Centre

The events are organised by the Scottish Traditional Building Forum as part of Construction Scotland’s, Inspiring Construction programme. It is supported by a range of partners including CITB, City of Glasgow College, West College Scotland, Dundee and Angus College, Edinburgh College and Developing the Young Workforce.

The construction industry currently employs 233,600 people, but it’s estimated that 28% of that workforce will need replacing by 2027, creating at least 21,000 vacancies. Attracting more potential employees to our industry to address this imminent skills gap is one of Construction Scotland’s top priorities.

“What better way to encourage young people to consider a career in the traditional skills side of construction than to invite them to give it a go for themselves. With the Scottish Parliament as the backdrop to this event, I hope the school children feel truly inspired to think of construction as a varied and exciting career choice. “Ian Hughes, Partnerships Director at CITB Scotland

“These Traditional Building Skills events are part of our Inspiring Construction programme, which aims to attract more school leavers to the sector by informing young people and their parents, teachers and career advisors about the huge and diverse range of careers available in construction, and importantly, how to access them. From professions like architecture, engineering and surveying to the more traditional trades like joinery and stonemasonry, this industry has something to suit everyone.” Ken Gillespie, Chair of Construction Scotland

 

National Digital Learning Week 2019⤴

from @ Education Scotland's Learning Blog

National Digital Learning Week is back! This year the event will take place Monday 13 until Friday 17 May.

For this year’s even all Early Learning and Childcare Centres and Schools across Scotland are invited to take part in 5 Curriculum focused challenges in: STEM, Social Studies, Expressive Arts, Numeracy and Literacy.

Here’ a 2 minute video that tells you everything you need to know about the event.

Visit the Glow Blog today and get started. https://bit.ly/2PfR0Go

Yokerburn Early Years⤴

from @ Education Scotland's Learning Blog

Extended day centre within Yoker area of north west Glasgow. Nursery caters for children from 0–5 years from a multitude of cultural, social, financial and learning backgrounds.

Click to view slideshow.

Raising awareness of job roles within local community by working with a range of different partners in the community is one of ur key priorities. This inspires the children and provides an early introduction into the world of work.  Our children have been working with a local care home to build up confidence and familiarity of the world of work. The children have experienced several different roles within the care home including: nursing, cooking, hair and beauty and table set-up . This is a fantastic opportunity for the children to gain a real insight into the world of work.

The project has grown and we have now had several engagements with the organisation:

Sustainability
Working with the care home to grow products. This project is in conjunction with another partner Dumbarton Environmental Trust. The project is helping our young people to improve their understanding of science but also introducing a wide range of different career options.

Remembrance Day
We joined the care home residents on Remembrance Day and the young people made their own poppies to commemorate the occasion. This was another opportunity for the residents to discuss their own lives with our children.

We have other experiences available to our children:

Parental Employability Sessions
We have encouraged our parents to become involved in our employability events and we have had several successful parental QA sessions. This allows the children to experience these skills from some familiar faces.

Fruit Stall
This project has allowed our childen to learn employability skills in a real-life context. The children are involved in all aspects of the enterprise activity

Health and hygiene
Money handling
Stock control

They also produce a survey on what products are selling the best and plan their purchases accordingly.

Community Police Visit
The children had a visit from the community police, this was another opportunity to show a positive role model for them. They had a QA session and had the opportunity to ask a wide range of diverse questions.

“The effective incorporation of simple counting, matching, comparison tasks into the conversation encouraged early numeracy skills and the reciprocal question and answers and new vocabulary in context developed early literacy skills for our children in a real and meaningful way. Our childen have been extremely engaged during visits to Quayside with older residents and we have recognised that often adults can underestimate children’s abilities in terms of empathy and awareness. We have had statements from Quayside about increased motivation, interest and engagement by some residents and there really is an observable connection between the regular visitors.Promoting the world of work is allowing our children to access early knowledge of the wide range of different career pathways.” Head Teacher

We are building on our local partners and will continue to actively promote the positive impact of early introduction to the world of work.

Next Steps
Working with local partners
Continuing our links with local community and strengthening joint appreciation of the people and families in our area.

“We have noticed a surge of energy and increase in physical activity for some of our residents when they know the children will be visiting” Anne from Quayside

Bo’ness Academy-Partners and the Community⤴

from @ Education Scotland's Learning Blog

Bo’ness has designed a clear strategy and has well-established approaches to developing in its young people skills for learning, life and work. The strategy involves establishing local, regional and partnerships to provide real- life contexts for learning. Curriculum leaders are using partners to provide a context to the learning and an insight of the working environment. Young people find this to be motivational and are enjoying the skills led curriculum.

Click to view slideshow.

Bo’ness are using their expanding partners to meet the needs of all learners and to prepare young people for the pathways which are likely to exist for them in the future. The curriculum has had a complete overhaul to establish a more wide ranging approach to the skills agenda.

The partnership and community approach at Bo’ness Academy is a key strategy for promoting skills development across all curriculum areas. The school is using a wide range of partners and community based projects to promote the importance of the skills agenda. Bo’ness Academy are using the skills agenda to push attainment and to foster a community approach throughout the school.  Bo’ness Academy are using their expanding partners to provide a curriculum that provides a framework to support all young people.

Community Café
This is a project that has been used effectively to support young people who are disengaged. The project is now well established and is supporting the local community. The school has fostered links with local partners to provide the school and the local community with a fully functioning and efficient café. The young people involved are provided with the opportunity to learn new skills relevant to the workplace and qualifications that are recognised in the sector(Health & Hygiene)

YPI
This is targeted at the S4 cohort and has been very successful at engaging the young people at the school. The groups use their own unique skillset to produce a presentation on their agreed research topic. The young people felt that their skills for work, life and learning had improved and in particular they had more confidence in making informed decisions. The groups have used local community as their focus and had fostered links with the local charities such as the Bo’ness Storehouse food bank.

Children’s University
This was another established partnership link that been very successful, the young people believed it had motivated them across the whole school. They spoke of the skills that they had developed during the programme. The school have developed their strategy this year to include the P6 cohort in their local feeder Primary schools. They felt that this approach would further develop their strong links with the local community and give the P6 another opportunity to work with the school. The school use the profiling tool developed by Children’s University but also feed the information into the existing profiling model in the school. The school have used PEF to support the course and target the participants through SIMD. The project has further developed links with INEOS, they have provided Inspiration visits to their workplace and are now working closely with the school on a sustainability project around the plastic journey which will be used as IDL across the school curriculum areas.

STEM@Helix
This was a targeted programme organised through the DYW Forth Valley group which provided the young people with the opportunity to work with others. They worked in teams to develop a model display. The young people felt that it allowed them to have more focus on STEM and to work in a real-life context. The young people also go the opportunity to meet the Queen at the award ceremony which gave them a real sense of achievement.

Forth Ports Discovery Week
This was a targeted programme but was very successful. The young people had the opportunity to visit a local employer and spend a week working with a wide range of departments. The programme was activity focused and the young people had the opportunity to work with some of the technical equipment. They had the opportunity to discuss the workplace with Modern Apprentices which they said helped to provide an overview to the wide range of different career pathways. The young people were surprised by the sheer size of the company and the opportunities that they could provide.

School/College Partnership
The school has long-standing partnerships with the local college. The school has a SCOTS course which offers young people a taster course, this allows the young people to experience a wide range of different areas before they take an extra block in their chosen field. This along with the introduction of the Foundation Apprenticeship programme are providing the young people with an opportunity to experience college. The school will begin to provide the FA programme for Business and Accounts at the school in the new academic year.

Balfour Beatty(STEM)
This a targeted programme to encourage young people to look at STEM as a possible career pathways. The young people were tasked with designing a building that maintained heat. They had a mentor and visited buildings and structures to understand the project context. The culmination of the project was a presentation to explain their design. The young people involved felt that the experience had given them a real insight into the careers available in the STEM sector.

Young people are experiencing a curriculum in which they are developing more career related skills and learning more about growth sectors and the career pathways that may be available to them post-school. The use of career pathways and partners are ensuring that the young people are motivated and have the skills required to make informed career choices which is improving the positive destinations.

Staff are able to use their own expertise to help the young people make these informed decisions.  We have found that by providing young people with more opportunities to work with partners that they have more motivation to look at their long term career pathways. Partners are able to use a real context to show how important the skills that we introduce in school are in progressing a career journey.

Involving partners in the school community has highlighted a range of career pathways that our young people were not aware existed. Having DYW as a focus for staff Career Long Professional Learning has helped to highlight across the whole school community of the importance of introducing young people early to skills for work, life and learning.

Our curriculum review meetings have an important role to play in the development of our young people. The review allows young people to discuss their career pathway with a wide range of different of inputs including parents/carers. This wide ranging approach gives the young person to reflect on their learning, achievements and future career pathways

We focused on local partners as this allowed us to foster a community approach which we believe is the best way forward for the school. We are superbly supported by DYW Forth Valley.
Our next step is to provide more opportunities within the existing school timetable that allows all of the learners the opportunity to undertake a wider range of skills. This will include the FA programmes that our own staff will lead in the new academic year

Quotes
‘The importance of DYW cannot be underestimated as it’s vital that we prepare and equip our young people with the skills for life, learning and work. Within our school all young people have opportunities for appropriate work placements during their time at Bo’ness Academy. This has to be both “real” and appropriate in order for our young people to gain maximum benefit from these opportunities.’ Head Teacher Steve Dougan

‘Moving forward our focus is to continue exploring opportunities for pupils and ensuring we have a curriculum in place that best supports the needs of Bo’ness Academy pupils. We aim to continue forging links with local employers and continuing to strengthen the partnership with DYW Forth Valley. An emphasis will be placed on the consistent delivery across the school of the career education standard and how pupils identify and record the skills they develop across the school.’ DYW Lead Ross Latimer

‘Encourages me to do more outside of school’
Hannah Waugh S2

‘I didn’t know there was so many different jobs’
Jay Brown S5

To look forward, don’t beat a retreat⤴

from @ Ewan McIntosh | Digital Media & Education

Defining strategy is the most important work a leadership team can do. The last place they should go to do it is a retreat.

It’s January, and wherever I look online I see so many friends’ new year’s resolutions, strategies to make 2019 a little better than 2018, perhaps. And I see many wittily launch jibes about how they don’t make resolutions (“I never keep to them anyway, so why bother?”

They’ve got a point: we create resolutions at a time of forced relaxation when most of the world has shut down. The inbox is empty (or, at least, not filling up), our families surround us physically or digitally, our thoughts of work are kept at bay, still, through a fog of champagne bubbles and hangovers and bracing twilight walks. The time in which we come up with our resolutions barely resembles any other time of year. It’s no wonder that the daily cycle rides, walks or gym visits subside when the onslaught of reality begins on January 3rd.

In March a few years ago, I had been invited by a group of different schools’ Heads to a joint retreat. It was a retreat in name, at least. In reality, it was an overcharged three-day programme of administrative meetings, mutual therapy, forced fun, eating and drinking a bit too much. I was asked to walk them through an innovation process so that they could make Great Things Happen. I was given six hours during their three precious days. One of the widely-respected Heads proclaimed:

“I don’t know why we’re looking at innovation now, at this point in the year. It’s a terrible time to be thinking about doing anything in a school.”

March is indeed a hectic time in schools. Examinations for older students are looming, the last chance for some serious cramming on the horizon (by this point, many secondary schools admit that the learning is more or less suspended). Even little ones are finalising portfolios and presentations, exhibitions and performances.

But I was perturbed. As the CEOs of their organisations, strategy should be an everyday activity. Strategy is not something for which we can afford to cherrypick a slot in our calendars, something we choose to do at certain more relaxed times of the year. Strategy is definitely not something we can demote to six hours in a forced period of ‘retreat’.

Innovation is change. Change is what strategy both predicts and provokes. Strategy is where we plan.

The strategic plan itself is rendered useless fairly quickly. “Strategy’s great until you get punched in the mouth,” says Mike Tyson. “Plans are worthless, but planning is everything,” is how Dwight Eisenhower put it. Eisenhower was actually paraphrasing what a soldier had told him, and the soldier was much more precise in what kind of plans are worthless:

“Peace-time plans are of no particular value, but peace-time planning is indispensable.”

And there it is. Peaceful time plans — new year’s resolutions, strategic planning done in the quiet months of an organisation, holiday romances — are often worthless the moment the break or retreat is over. But the process of thinking things through — the planning — is vital. Why?

Peaceful time planning is vital because it lets us go through a process slowly. Think of it like training in a technique, a technique that we should be employing every day, at faster and faster speeds, so that when we’re in the thick of it in our busier ‘real’ lives we can cope with the punches coming our way.

After a deep immersive process throughout their organisation, a Design Team of students, teachers, staff and parents work through a mass of data, perceptions and stories to design simple strategy that anyone can use.

Over the past four years, my team has been involved in more strategy work with organisations than ever before. The word of mouth that drives some of the most successful organisations in the world to us for this help is invaluable, and reveals why people are seeking something different to their usual “strategic planning retreat”:

1. One, two or three days are not enough to come up with a strategic plan. Strategic planning is about the future, but to do this well you need to build on what happens today. People need some time to dive deeply into what makes their organisation tick today, and what people’s hopes and fears for the future might be. If you’re doing it properly, this deep dive immersive experience can take up to six weeks, and should involve everyone in your community contributing their perspectives. It’s a significant communications exercise to ensure everyone knows that they have the opportunity to present, share or post their perceptions of what works well, and less well, in the organisation today.

We use a strategic planning version of our NoTosh Design Thinking process to set up effective teams who can procure, encourage and manage this massive set of contributions, and then make sense of the trends that emerge from it. This kind of inclusive, immersive process is superb for providing that ‘peacetime planning’ moment for every member of the community. Even if it’s just for five minutes in the ‘war room’ or ‘project nest’, every teacher, student, parent, employee or visitor to the school can take the time to reflect, and get their memory muscle developed for planning every day. And the tools we use to synthesis all that data turn even the most ardent moan into a positive force to drive an organisation’s ambitious ideas.

2. The strategic plan itself is worthless within weeks or months. Organisations’ needs change quicker today than they did ten years ago. A five-year strategic plan might help a leadership team feel accountable, that they’ve done their job. But continuing with it headlong, without ever changing the expectations along the way, would be foolish. I don’t know any leadership team which has actually seen through every item in a five year plan, at the exclusion of all others. Most organisations with these kinds of long-term plans have massive fatigue in their teams: initiative after initiative gets introduced as sticky plaster planning for when the original plan isn’t quite working. But no-one ever dares to ditch significant projects in a five-year plan, even when, further down the road from the point of writing the plan, they’re clearly off-target.

Instead, we invest expertise in framing a leadership team’s vision as an exciting image of the future. Individually, a leader will struggle to express a vision that doesn’t make their ass clench with slight embarrassment from being a little too much or, more likely, a bit underwhelming. But with help, it’s possible to translate a team’s individual ideas for the future of their organisation into something that is compelling and which feels like a ‘goldilocks’ vision — not too hard, not too easy, just right.

3. Most strategic plans are actually just long-term plans. They’re not strategy. Strategy should look mercifully short when laid out on a postcard. Three, four or five ‘orders’ that tell the team how to play, but which don’t lay out each and every step you expect people to take. The ideas to realise the leadership’s expression of the vision need to come from and be delivered by the people who will feel the positive impact in the end.

That level of simplicity takes a lot of effort, expertise and time. We use some of the world’s best copywriters to knock strategy into shape so that the youngest member of a team or the person with English as their third or fourth language, can all understand how they’re meant to act.

4. Good strategy is only good when we know it works. So we don’t make anything final until the leadership team have tested the strategy out with their own current big projects. Ideally, there should be some that are clearly in their last breaths, ready to be ditched because they don’t help realise the vision, and they can’t be done in a way that works with the rest of the team’s strategy. Other projects will need changed to be successful — the strategy tells the leader how they need changed. And there will be some existing projects which will move front and centre — they may take on importance they didn’t have before.

Confident organisations test strategy further. In the American School of Warsaw, they’ve been testing for eight months, and are ready now to commit to most of what they set out, with some minor changes. Other organisations just know that they’ve nailed their direction, in days, often because there was little direction before, so any direction helps people have the focus they need here and now. These teams, far from being slapdash in their approach, understand deeply how strategy is something to be revisited daily.

5. Good strategy should be revisited every day. How do you know you’re doing a good job? How do you know that what you did yesterday worked, and what you’ll continue today will realise the vision you’ve got? Success metrics should not be reduced to annual or quarterly traffic lights, percentages and Board-speak management jargon. Success of projects can be measured in so many different ways, every day. Meeting about project success every week for 30 minutes allows the average organisation 48 points of change, instead of what might be achieved with eight Board meetings. For a leadership team to meet every day for 10 minutes to talk about success, accelerates the potential to tweak and amplify success to 240 points every year.

1000 points of change over five years, or a five year plan with one process at the start to get it right? Which do you prefer? That’s a lot more opportunity to plan together, to cope with the punches to your collective jaw, to kill off ideas that aren’t working (and assure yourselves that everyone knows why). You can only do this if you’re confident that your strategy is of the people in your organisation.

6. Strategy has to be true, not a trueism. Genchi Genbutsu is the Japanese term for the kind of active observation of the organisation that we undertake in that first deep dive. A leadership cannot take itself away to a five star hotel to presuppose what might be true, and develop a strategy from that point of view. A team can’t just talk about what it sees. It’s got to look. This is Genchi Genbutsu. It literally means: get out and see for yourself. Toyota are arguably the Japanese grandmasters of this technique, led by the founder of their world-famous manufacturing system, Taiichi Ohno, and it forms part of their formal five-part strategy for working:

The best practice is to go and see the location or process where the problem exists in order to solve that problem more quickly and efficiently. To grasp problems, confirm the facts and analyse root causes.
The Toyota Production System requires a high level of management presence on the factory floor, so that if a problem exists in this area it should be first of all correctly understood before being solved.

In Jeffrey Liker’s The Toyota Way we see the notion taken beyond the factory floor. Yuji Yokoya was the chief engineer for the 2004 Toyota Sienna redesign. Yokoya had never worked on a car made for the North American market, and he felt the need to practise some Genchi Genbutsu and get out to North America to gain some sense of empathy for a North American driver, and the potential purchaser of this new car. In the end, Yokoya drove a previous model Sienna throughout all 50 American states as well as all 13 provinces and territories of Canada. He got as far as the streets of Mexico.

Why was such a costly and timely roadtrip necessary? Was this the midlife crisis of a successful engineer, or a genius move to make major changes to an otherwise successful (in the Japanese market) car?

What he learned could not have been learned from any analytical data, survey or web search. Why? Because the things he observed needed observing by a Japanese Toyota engineer to make sense — they needed that empathetic, but foreign eye, to be seen afresh. For example, he discovered that roads in Canada are very different from those in the US — they have a very high central reservation designed to deal with the never-ending snowfall of winter. He learned that the winds in Mississippi are so strong at times that, if the family-sized Sienna were not designed with this in mind, it might have flipped over with the force. The most valuable lesson was perhaps to do with a tiny, non-engineering type problem: cup holders. In his native Japan people rarely eat or drink in their vehicles, while their North American counterparts were relatively settled in the habit of eating several of their daily meals within the car, on the move.

From the many design and engineering problems he spotted, Yokoya’s team developed a new Sienna for 2004, equipped with 14 cup holders and a flip tray specifically designed for your Big Mac and fries. It was their best-selling model yet.

The notion of ‘getting out there and seeing it’ might well seem like a drawback for leadership teams looking after large institutions, or entire districts, states or countries. They might feel that they can’t afford the equivalent of a 50-state road trip to get a firsthand insight. To undertake an extensive immersion, in person, ‘out there’, might not be possible for every individual leader. But it is possible when you harness your community, communicate well, form dedicated design teams to do the work with you. Toyota explain further with a reassurance for leaders:

The nature of the phrase is less about the physical act of visiting a site but more to do with a personal understanding of the full implications of any action within an environment as a whole.

The impact of changing one’s mindset, often by applying a strong sense of empathy to how others might view a situation, is powerful. Even in a workshop type situation, normally within the air-conditioned magnolia of a plush hotel or a school meeting room with no wifi (and no connection to the outside world), the mindset change put in place by considering every actor’s feelings and potential observations of the current situation is profound.

From one workshop in a business centre in Spain looking at problems in schools 500 miles away:

‘This workshop focused on people and used real examples; the process was involving.’

From a Headteacher in England:

‘The fact that everyone can take part and feels a necessity to join in means that all views, good and bad are taken into account.’

From a team in Australia looking at a perennial challenge they hadn’t (yet) overcome:

‘We loved having the time to explore ideas, good and bad, without negativity, to see things from so many perspectives.’

Just making an effort to connect with people from other perspectives transforms our thinking about what the underlying challenges we need to address might be.

This article has elements adapted from my book, How To Come Up With Great Ideas and Actually Make Them Happen, available in paperback, Kindle and iBooks, and in Spanish.

 

Young Enterprise Scotand – News⤴

from @ Education Scotland's Learning Blog

Earlier this year our Bridge 2 Business Programme joined forces with Heehaw, to bring an exciting competition and opportunity for Edinburgh College Students.

The competition gave Edinburgh College students the opportunity to win a paid work placement, and valuable experience in the industry of animation, film & television. This opportunity also gave students the chance to develop their skills, which hopefully would secure them a job in the future or give real inspiration to start up their own business!

Earlier this week, we got news from HeeHaw that the students who won the competition through Bridge2Business, have in fact gained employment within the industry. We had 40 students apply for the placement, which was then narrowed down to a top ten, and ultimately two won a paid placement!

 

#collaboration is a core value of everything we do and stand for at Young Enterprise Scotland you can imagine how pleased we are to be working with VIBES – Scottish Environment Business Awards.

Businesses in Scotland are taking significant steps to improve or reduce their impact on the environment, often saving money in the process. The VIBES are held each year to recognise and showcase best practice.

The VIBES – Scottish Environment Business Awards are a partnership between Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA), The Scottish Government, Energy Saving Trust, Highland & Islands Enterprise, Scottish Enterprise, Scottish Water, Zero Waste Scotland and the 20:20 Climate Group. We were delighted to showcase our work via young people from Lochend Community School in Glasgow as well as being the charity partner at the lunch receiving over £1600 to help continue our work.

As we approach the end of Scotland’s Year of Young People we can look back with warmth at the role that Young Enterprise Scotland has played, and we will join a celebration event on 3rd December to showcase the legacy if the year’s activity.

The one key takeaway for Young Enterprise Scotland has been improved co-creation and engagement with young people to help shape our programmes for young people in the future.

This was to the fore this week as we held focus groups with our current group of Pathway Programme participants to use their knowledge of issues and challenges they face to help us shape a future enterprise programme fit for purpose and meeting the beneficiary needs – putting the customer at the heart of your business