“We engaged with KBG IT to carry out all of the IT related work in helping us become an independent organisation, and they also became the first point of contact for all IT related issues our internal staff faced.
The 2008 recession changed the way financial instituitons are regulated, with the introduction of tougher regulations and financial reporting requirements. KnowCo's solution is a smart software tool, enabling fast compliance and minimising risk.
The Board of a Regulatory Body of approximately 60 people was struggling to keep track of multiple projects and the associated costs, necessary to understand the progress of high-risk and high-value projects. The organisation had a history of using external consultants to build systems to enable reporting to the board on major projects. Unfortunately, the systems were not working as they should. Staff lacked confidence in the systems and were using disparate methods to provide project reporting to the Board. Staff were cynical about further initiatives, and were concerned that management would impose a new system from the top down. Merielle Ghali was asked to lead an internal project team to improve oversight of all projects, large and small scale. A combination of: A consultative, collaborative approach that involved asking individuals what did and did not work in prior systems Analysis of processes and day to day working practices led to the development of a new solution. The new solution blended Prince 2 project management methodology with bespoke processes geared towards the needs of the organisation. The Board received regular highlight reports detailing project activity, along with Risks and Issue registers. Merielle built a Programme Office (PMO) using in-house staff to implement the new system, and support colleagues. This ensured buy-in across the organisation. The new solution was delivered within three months, from inception to business as usual. Individuals benefited from the visibility of project push and pull points, which the Board were able to see across all projects to make the right decisions.
A Government Agency that specialised in training, assessment, examinations and policy was required to change purpose and become a Professional Body as part a decision to reduce quangos. The Government required the Agency to become a stand-alone Standard Setting body that would eventually evolve into a self-funded membership organisation. Merielle Ghali, now of MRG Associates, worked alongside the Chief Operating Officer (COO) to bring about the change. During the six months before the transformation, Merielle examined the legislation necessary for the new body, to implement policy and standards for national Workforce Strategy, for a wide variety of paid and volunteer staff. Merielle proactively reviewed her policy team's skill set and best fit for new roles, and identified opportunities for team members in the new organisation or negotiated with the parent department to take them, in advance of the transformation to the new organisation. The outcome was that all of Merielle's team were not put at risk of redundancy. During the transformation, Merielle was responsible for bringing in specialised change expertise, producing FAQs to hold Change team members to account, and opening up dialogue with staff through outreach activities Merielle’s efforts to drive extensive outreach activities early in the transformation were highly beneficial. She spoke with over 300 people, across the UK, acting as a conduit between the profession, staff in the body, the Change team and the Board. This gave individuals a voice to provide valuable feedback and shape what the new organisation would look like and how it would function. Facing redundancy herself, Merielle had credibility with colleagues in a similar position, some of whom had been in post for years. Merielle provided support to individuals at a very emotional time, helping them to understand what the change meant for them, and find positive opportunities during a difficult time. Staff gained confidence in the change process due to Merielle’s outreach activities. Many people said that they appreciated being able to talk with someone ‘real’ and ‘approachable’, which made them feel valued. This made a significant contribution to a new organisation based on feedback, with people bought into the change process.
A Unit of approximately 50 people within a Government Department needed to move to a much larger Government Department within the space of two months, an unusually fast time-frame for a move of this nature. This presented many challenges including: Different IT platforms in the original and new Department e.g. Google to Outlook Different pay scales and terms and conditions in the new Department Different processes and procedures in the new Department, with a more risk adverse culture Staff who had been through prior moves were suffering from 'move fatigue.' Heavy high-pressure staff workloads Requirement to minimise disruption to Ministerial support Merielle Ghali took a leading role in co-ordinating the move. Her remit was to act as the lead representative for the unit, advising and helping them to communicate effectively, and holding them to account. To ensure a smooth move, Merielle: Built relationships with key members of the new Department in advance Built change champions in each of the teams who were moving Participated in Director General level, and Weekly Change Team meetings and cascaded information accordingly Involved the Change Board, Change Team, IT and Facilities teams in weekly cascades to disseminate information and ensure direct two-way feedback Acted as a conduit between the Change Team and the staff affected by the move Tracked all aspects of the move, including FAQs, weekly updating and traffic light reporting The Change Champions were critical to the success of the move. Champions were selected from the Directorates of the Unit and were able to use their insight and networks to help Merielle gather and share information. Champions assisted on a practical level by owning logistics on move day itself. With an aggressive two-month time-line from announcement to move day, rapidly integrating the Unit into the culture of the new Department was it was a high priority. Merielle worked closely with staff to manage expectations, while ensuring that voices were heard, to reach sensible cost effective solutions. The two most challenging aspects of the move were IT and HR. Both were tackled with phased moves. The IT move happened over six months, so that staff could move to new systems gradually. Temporary wifi solutions were set up to support this, along with sessions with IT support and floorwalking. GOV.UK webpages were updated and Merille negotiated to have them set up as a stand-alone agency to future-proof the Unit for potential further moves. Unit staff were trained to upload their own content. Staff had concerns about differences in pay grades and terms and conditions across the two Departments. Merielle arranged opportunities for individuals to speak with HR to discuss concerns and understand the new working arrangements. Once individuals physically moved into their new office space, Merielle led on aftercare, managing queries and problems, with a list of live and often complex issues. One example was poor lighting, which required the procurement of special lighting. The Unit kept all records and logs to act as a blueprint for future moves. Staff feedback on the move was very positive, with staff saying that they felt wanted as part of the new Department. Merielle won two awards for her work supporting the move.
Sending large packets of data to the ground from an aircraft or even a satellite is not at all straightforward. The spectrum of radio frequencies is over-subscribed and there is just no room for the extra radio traffic. That is a potential stumbling block for the many new businesses being set up to exploit advances around satellite- derived data technology and unmanned aircraft surveying or similar applications. Laser technology, proven in cD and DVD players, offers a solution. It lends itself to higher speed data transfers than radio waves and is not subject to radio frequency (rF) spectrum licensing. Yet keeping a laser beam fixed on a drone flying at 10 metres per second and being buffeted by air currents poses difficulties. A team of engineers based at Airbus Group Innovations in Newport, South Wales, has been trying to overcome the problem, working with Oxford University on project Hyperion, funded by Innovate UK. Installing a laser on the aircraft is impractical because of size and weight constraints. However, the team proved they could establish a data connection using a programmable reflective lens to steer the laser beam on to a UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle) and then ‘bouncing’ it back to the ground. Project leader Yoann Thueux explained: “A modulated retro-reflector on the UAV encodes the data before the beam is then reflected back, transformed into an electrical signal. We use infrared light, which is invisible, safe, and travels further than visible light.” The really clever innovation was using a solid-state technology to steer the beam so accurately that it could maintain the data link connection. Yoann added: “The laser beam pointing has to be very accurate in tracking a device measuring no more than 50mm square on a moving uaV more than a kilometre away. We have tested this to 1.2 kilometres. With more laser power, we could go to longer distances. “We have had very good results. this laser technology is limited by weather conditions and we’re not suggesting it will completely replace low data-rate rF communications for control and safety. However, this technology will allow you to download a massive amount of data when you have good visibility.” This case study was originally published in Innovate UK: Aerospace SME case studies, 2015 and is reproduced here under the Open Government Licence v 3.
The Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) is an American mixed martial art promotion company. It is the premier mixed martial arts (MMA) promotion as well as the largest in the world, featuring most of the top-ranked fighters in the sport. The UFC was set to host its first ever Croatian event in April 2016 and enlisted Kristina Spionjak to promote it across print press, online press, national and local radio and TV from January 2016 through to post-event coverage. The objectives were to raise awareness of the UFC, the world’s premier mixed martial arts organisation, their roster of elite athletes and their first live event in Croatia, as well as reach new audiences.
Mandarin Consulting delivers expert coaching support to provide graduate job and internship opportunities in London, the UK and beyond. They offer career coaching, cross-cultural training, recruitment and business consulting to enable ambitious Chinese students and graduates to launch and progress their international careers.
Since the introduction of fire safety laws over ten years ago, fire safety is a legal necessity, and most commercial properties in the UK are fitted with compliant fire doors. Despite progress in raising awareness and improving standards, there have been fatal incidents, where inadequate or poorly fitted doors have contributed to the outcome. In one tragic case, the inquest ruled that death could have been avoided (1), if a self-closing fire door had not become stuck on the floor, preventing it from closing. Correct fitting is critical to ensure that fire doors remain compliant and meet the appropriate standards. Tests to certify doors to a declared fire resistance period (typically 30 or 60 minutes) become redundant, if not fitted properly or maintained over years of wear and tear. The consequences for safety are frighteningly obvious – one incident highlighted where blocked exits and door faults trapped hotel residents (2) and there are plenty of video examples where door-sets fail to impede fire (3) as planned. The financial implications for the building manager and owner are significant with hefty fines for fault or negligence. Property management companies are held to account in cases where the council carry out inspections, such as Kier Stoke (4). However, the laws and standards can be confusing – and EU policy makers are urged to review them for the hotel and tourism industry (5). Alarmingly, statistics from Fire Door Safety Week (6) indicate that 45% of building managers do not know how to spot a problem with their fire doors.
Lack of confidence and procrastination are common issues that block individuals from identifying and achieving their personal and career goals. Negative thinking and the resulting patterns of behavior can be very difficult to change, especially when they are reinforced through self-fulfilling prophecies and embedded beliefs about oneself. Achieving happiness, fulfillment and attaining career goals are possible for everyone. Practical techniques like interview performance can be learnt, and self-limiting beliefs can evolve.
When Weatherbys Bank needed support within a major systems change project, Sarah from Bubble Business was hired because of her thoroughbred and horse racing industry knowledge, and her ability to streamline complex operations into simple steps. The organisation-wide systems change programme required a focused project team. Sarah was tasked with delivering six outcomes for one specific internal interface: Business analysis to identify requirements and recommend changes to process. Support for software development phases – to ensure alignment with planned changes. Test cycle support – including systems, user acceptance and latest software release checks. Support for the live implementation date – with weekly reporting to directors and senior management. Written documentation to define and embed the revised processes. Training sessions to support internal staff dealing with new processes; overview sessions for decision makers, and a handover to a permanent member of the team.