April 5, 2011

My colleagues and I pride ourselves on our innovation and, recently, I have also been giving a lot of thought to collaboration and behaviour change.  It was therefore really quite “spooky” to be emailed this link out of the blue last week!  As you can imagine, I am quite excited about a new magazine with the strap line innovation | collaboration | change.  The online version is free and there are some interesting articles, a healthy disrespect for the status quo and some invigorating lateral thinking.  Despite the overuse of the phrase, I don’t encounter enough “Thinking outside the Box”  so this magazine is a breath of fresh air.

Behaviour Change

April 5, 2011

I have been discussing behaviour change a lot recently.  Initially, this was because of two new products aiming to bring about behaviour change in the workplace.

The new products are CtrlWORK personal efficiency software and the Back-Track manual handling tool.  Back-Track has an obvious and rapid impact on behaviour.  It’s one of my favourite new products because it’s simple, obvious and effective.  It also produces really effective management data.  CtrlWORK is a much slower-burn product but I am confident of great results in time.  It has already been well-received by over 250,000 users in the Netherlands and initial U.S. feedback is exciting.

These conversations got me interested in the whole concept of behaviour change and I decided to find out a little more about the process.  I don’t claim to be any sort of expert but my brief research has given me some valuable insights.

A good starting point is The Stages of Change Model (SCM), developed over 30 years ago by James Prochaska and Carlo DiClimente when they were researching smoking habits and addiction.  Interestingly, a Google search for Behaviour Change produces many pages which are drug-, alcohol- or other dependency-related.  The whole concept recognises that change is not a single continuum but a series of separate stages with different issues and tasks to be faced by the individual.  That individual  must decide for him/herself when a stage is completed and when it’s time to move on.  The fundamental concept is that such change can not be imposed: it has to come from within.  These are the stages.

  • Pre-contemplation – “ignorance is bliss”, not aware of a problem
  • Contemplation – ambivalent about change, no imminent plans for action
  • Preparation – starting to try to change, “testing the waters”
  • Action – practicing new behaviour
  • Maintenance – continued commitment to sustained new behaviour
  • Relapse – “fall from grace”, resumption of old habits

Significantly, they can be applied just as readily to moving towards a more environmentally sustainable lifestyle, creating a better work-life balance, improving time management and more.  Indeed, the comprehensive information I found at the U.S. addictioninfo.org site included this diagram (which I have also now borrowed) from Katherine Lee’s System Concepts article at http://bit.ly/oglscm which explores organisational readiness to change.

So, we are right back to ergonomics and human factors!


April 5, 2011

I feel bad about having only just heard of this app.  Apparently, it’s been a best seller since the arrival of the iPad but it’s new to me so I still feel the need to rave about it!  As a PDF document management tool, it’s brilliant.  I use it to display and discuss price lists, brochures and presentations with customers, enabling me to carry everything I need and have near-instant access in any meeting.  Even better is the way it synchronises documents with my Dropbox (and other sources) and enables me to email files in a few clicks.


April 5, 2011

I love this little app which manages my to-do list, reminding me what’s outstanding and allowing me to prioritise tasks.  It synchronises my iPhone and iPad and there’s a web-based synchronisation tool as well (although I never use it).  I no longer have scraps of paper and assorted, often-forgotten scribbles in my notebook – it’s all centrally managed and readily available.

Healthier Eating – a Fun Approach

April 5, 2011

I have been enthusing recently about a new service I’ve discovered from graze.com.  For £3.49 a pop, they will post you a box of tasty, healthy snacks.  I have set myself up for twice-weekly deliveries and am impressed with the service and the back-up.  Each delivery contains nutritional information and is followed up with an email inviting me to rate the contents.  There are four different packs per delivery and the rating I give to each one (Love it – like it – try it – bin it) influences how often, how soon or if ever I will get it again.  My wife thinks I’m nuts (quite literally) because I could go to the supermarket and get the same for less but I just love the whole concept and think it’s a lot of service for the money.  There’s one down side: these are not easy to eat neatly so the floor around my office desk often looks like the area under our garden bird table by the end of the day (there have been dark mutterings from our cleaners!).

Graze are keen to grow the business so they’ll send you a free sample box and donate £1 to charity if you click here to use my recommendation code: 1WK9HN1.

Finally, thanks to Joolz Lewis, the Corporate Hippy, who recommended Graze in a recent presentation I attended.

Worrying Research News about Teachers’ Health

April 5, 2011

Chartered Healthy Schools Physiotherapist, Lorna Taylor, has recently published results of research she has been doing with Voice, the union for education professionals.  Here are just some of the depressing statistics:

  • 88% experienced back pain
  • 73% experienced neck and shoulder pain
  • 82% experienced Musculo-skeletal Disorders (MSDs) once a week or more
  • 38% had been off work

We work with many back pain sufferers but most of them are in offices or industry.   It seems that very many teachers just “don’t like to complain” and that, perhaps as a result, too many schools pay too little attention to manual handling training and risk assessments.  You can find the full Voice report here.

Infant school teacher's chair designed by physiotherapist Lorna Taylor

Lorna has been active in this arena for some time and has developed the Jolly Back Chair to address some of the obvious problems.  Although we have not done that much with schools in the past, we decided to sell the chair following several conversations with Lorna and our own trials.  It’s not the prettiest product in our portfolio but it definitely works!  The price point means that it costs less than a supply teacher for one day so it only needs to save one day’s sickness to more than pay for itself.  We have already sent out several on 30 days’ sale or return and we haven’t had any back yet!

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