Tuesday, 17 October 2017

New Project! Volunteers wanted for new project with Greenpower Education Trust

Greenpower Education Trust

Project summary:

A volunteer is required to assess the requirements and benefits of integrating Greenpower’s accounting, website and CRM systems to support and accelerate anticipated future growth.
Greenpower currently operate a Sage 50 accounting system, a Drupal website/shop system and will soon be implementing a CRM system (most likely to be Salesforce).
We require expert advice to help define our requirements for IT systems integration to present to potential providers, and an assessment of the benefits integration will provide as part of the business case for investment in this activity. This will help to ensure we make the right decisions to meet our short and long term goals.
We are looking for a volunteer to
  • gain an understanding of our business processes and how they tie in with our software systems
  • produce a requirements document that can be presented to potential providers
·         provide an assessment of the benefits of systems integration to our business processes

Time commitment2-4 days
LocationWest Sussex, BN18 0SD

Please read projectscope and if you feel you are able to offer your assistance please complete the application form and return along with your CV to hope.meadows@theorsociety.com by Tuesday 31st October.

Information about the organisation:

Charitable objectives:
Greenpower Education Trust is an educational charity supplying electric kit cars to schools and colleges throughout the UK and internationally. Children 9-18 years work together to build the cars and then race them at events run by Greenpower.

 Greenpower’s mission intends to
·         Change current views about engineering, presenting it as a fascinating, relevant and dynamic career choice for any young person.
·         Demonstrate the importance of engineering, and associated STEM subjects, to solve the problems faced by societies today particularly in the areas of sustainability.
·         Link education, industry and community through inspirational engineering projects.
·         Promote social inclusion through engaging with vulnerable and economically disadvantaged young people.

The vision and mission were realised from a study by Sussex Enterprise in 1998 looking at the needs of engineering companies in the region. This uncovered a worrying problem; an industry increasingly reliant on an aging work force with few young people coming into engineering to learn the skills and replace the workforce.
An investigation revealed low levels of interest in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) amongst young people, within schools and within communities generally. After an initial event to promote engineering run by Greenpower and Sussex Enterprise, publicity in the Daily Telegraph brought in requests from around the UK from teachers who wanted a similar project in their region. This resulted in the Greenpower Education Trust creating a number of practical, educational engineering challenges that fulfil our mission and encompass all of our values.

Main activities of the organisation
Greenpower Education Trust supports over 600 teams participating in multiple events across the country. We are looking to expand in the UK and to provide ongoing support to an increasing number of international licensees following our successful model.
We are a small team and so efficient, fit for purpose business processes and IT systems are vital to our day-to-day management and expected future growth.

For further information about Greenpower Education Trust please visit http://www.greenpower.co.uk/
For further information about the Pro Bono scheme please visit: http://www.theorsociety.com/Probono

Thursday, 28 September 2017

See how OR is making an impact on the other side of the world (IFORS Article)

Make sure you check it this article in the latest IFORS newsletter. See how community OR makes an impact as an agent of change.

More articles can be found at http://ifors.org/newsletter/ifors-news-sept2017.pdf 

Wednesday, 27 September 2017

Are you interested in joining and/or helping set-up an OR Society special interest group exploring ‘Information and Cyber Security?’

Are you looking to share your knowledge of cyber security? Or looking looking to get to know it?

The OR Society are looking to start a new special interest group invested in Information and Cyber Security, and are currently looking to recruit committee roles and SIG followers. 

A call to action from Dan Tilley FORS:

'I (Dan Tilley) have recently joined the cyber security community, having spent 16 years working in the defence community (including aspects of cyber warfare), in a big way. I am looking to help develop the relationship between Operational Research and Cyber Security by helping to set-up and run a  successful special interest group. I have a long history with the Operational Research Society, having helped organise a number of conferences with them and sat on council.'

If you have an interest in cyber or information security, and how we may apply Operational Research in investigating and solving the challenges of cyber security then this is the special interest group for you. We expect to be covering topics such as: Attack types, Vulnerabilities, Analytics, Machine Learning,  and Artificial Intelligence among many others.

For more info please send an expression of interest email to Dan Tilley at daniel.tilley275@gmail.com

Monday, 25 September 2017

OR Group of Scotland Event with guest speaker Ruth Kaufman

The OR Group of Scotland will be hosting an event this week with a talk from our very own OR Society President, Ruth Kaufman.

President of the Operational Research Society

Speaker: Ruth Kaufman OBE, FORS, FIMA

Abstract: The OR Society, with around 12 FTE staff and a turnover around £1million, falls definitely into the ‘S’ subset of SMEs. With 3,000 members, it is pretty small as far as learned societies go, as well. But its reach, impact and ambitions are disproportionately great. Part of this discrepancy is explained by the nature of OR itself: its massive power to transform and improve, even whilst most people who benefit from it have never heard of it, and many people who work in the field hesitate to define it. In this talk, I will review some aspects of the current position of the ORS and of OR in the UK and discuss how the ORS and OR professionals can best capitalise on our strengths and opportunities.

Biography: Ruth Kaufman, a `Companion' of the OR Society, became President of the Society in January 2016. Like many other members of the OR Society, she fell into O.R. by accident, in her case having taken a maths BA in the School of Social Sciences at Sussex University. This led to a long career in public sector O.R. and wider management at London Transport, London Electricity, Department of Health and Export Credits Guarantee Department (ECGD). At ECGD, she joined the Executive Board, having responsibility for strategy and change management as well as leading an influential OR group. In the voluntary sector, Ruth chaired a small charity, Woman's Trust, for five years and was a founder member of the OR Society's Pro Bono Scheme. Ruth is currently (amongst other things), Advisor to the Finance Committee at the National Federation of Women's Institutes, a visiting Senior Fellow at the London School of Economics and a freelance consultant and advisor. She was awarded an OBE for 'services to Operational Research' in the 2016 New Year's Honours list.

Time: 28th Sep, 2017, 4.30pm

Venue: SW204, Strathclyde Business School, 199 Cathedral Street, Glasgow G40QU

If you'd like to attend the event then head over to this link and register for free

For any queries or for further info please email ashwin.arulselvan@strath.ac.uk

Wednesday, 20 September 2017

OR59: Pro Bono Consultancy Tips and Tricks

In case you missed it, The Operational Research Society held its OR59 annual conference last week at Loughborough University. With more streams than the Isle of Arran, it's safe to say everybody's needs were catered for. Pro Bono got stuck in, investing must time in the Grand Challenges, OR in Consultancy and Third Sector Modelling.

There was a theme than ran throughout the 3 days of the conference, and that was a general sense of community; not only were we there to recognise and celebrate the accomplishments already achieved by OR affiliates, but we were also there to ensure that the growth of the OR community is sustainable. Expert knowledge is not the only thing that everyone at the conference had it common, people also shared the motivation to utilize OR to create a better future. If you're new to the OR community, as am i, then the conference teaches us that the OR community has a strong sense of identity and your invited to explore all of the common interests. 

As much as I'd like to report back on all of the talks I was able to indulge in, unfortunately my time is limited, and so is my OR knowledge! But there are a few lessons I took away which are important to share among our community within Pro Bono. The great thing about Pro Bono is it's slim criteria in order to get involved. Our volunteers range from young to OR analysts and practitioners to the extremely accomplished, and the not-for profits we work with range from start-ups to well established registered charities. With everybody in the mix, its no wonder my predecessor has done such a wonderful job in growing the Pro Bono scheme, the diverse involvement makes for a great equation that equals success. 

Having never heard of Operational Research until six months ago, I recognise entry into the OR community can be overwhelming, With all that knowledge comes great power, and when you meet so many people who strive to constantly improve their knowledge, suddenly you find yourself feeling overwrought. It's the equal measure of excitement that makes you want to explore every avenue in the OR community, mixed with enough nervousness to make you second guess every thought that comes to mind. 

If your familiar with OR but new to Pro Bono then we still have plenty of teachings for you. In case you missed the conference then here are some slides created by our very own Ian Seath and Jane Parkin, with advice on the Pro Bono process. On day 2 of the conference, Ian and Jane ran a workshop which provided some hints and tips for Pro Bono volunteers. The things we learnt include a list of considerations when preparing for an initial meeting with a client, as well as how learning how to overcome obstacles and challenges that may arise during a project. Importance was placed on the need to continuously refer back to the project definition and objectives, identifying the needs of the client during every step of the process. Feel free to download the slides and get involved in the scenarios we looked at during the workshop.     

Also available, a complete plan on the kind of things to consider ahead of a kick-off meeting https://www.dropbox.com/s/2z356z76y8n9bvq/Example%20kick%20off%20meeting%20plan%20final.docx?dl=0

If you'd like to see any particular aspects of the Pro Bono application or project process to be covered with guidance from our veterans then please email hope.meadows@theorsociety.com with all queries.