Monday, 30 June 2014

Pro Bono O.R. is promoted by UK Fundraising.

Thank you to UK Fundraising for publishing the following article to promote Pro Bono O.R.

Read on to find out how operational research can help reduce costs, increase efficiency and effectiveness and much more.  And all this for free!

Operational Research Society offers pro bono consultancy

Thursday, 26 June 2014

Read about the workshop at Evolve (one of the highest attended workshops of the day!)

How Operational Research can improve your organisation’s decision making
#Evolve 2014(Greater Manchester)

Pro Bono O.R. was invited to run a workshop at Evolve (Greater Manchester) 2014 which was hosted by GMCVO in partnership with NVCO.

The workshop was one of the highest attended workshops of the day and had extremely positive feedback.
Here’s a brief summary of what was covered:

The purpose of OR is to enable managers to make more effective decisions.  Those decisions could be strategic, tactical or extremely detailed issues. It may be appropriate to help in providing information through, for example, forecasting.  O.R can help through problem structuring, data gathering, modelling etc.  O.R. can be qualitative or quantitative or in many cases a combination of the two.
Some examples of Pro Bono projects were given before encouraging participants to consider the problems that their organisations faced that might be helped by O.R.

Third Sector organisations face extremely complex decisions about the direction they should take and how to allocate scarce resources. The OR Society wants more organisations to benefit from Operational Research and recognises that 3rd sector organisations have an even greater need to be more efficient. 

 These are some of the problems third sector organisations are faced with:

•‘We have lots of different options for the future but it’s impossible to decide which to choose in such uncertain times.’
• ‘We’re under huge pressure to do more with less, and we don’t know how we’re going to do it.’
• ‘It’s hard to stay objective when we’re faced with such emotionally charged decisions.’
• ‘We know we’re doing a good job – but how can we prove it?’

The OR Society felt that O.R. could help and set up Pro Bono O.R.

After the workshop this is what some of the attendees said:

‘I came to this workshop as I didn’t know what O.R. was, I can say it’s the best workshop I’ve been to in a long time and I really bought into it’
‘We didn't know O.R. could help until we spoke to you’
‘What you said made a huge impression’



Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Pro Bono O.R. is making a difference


One of our volunteers recently ran a workshop for AYME (Association of Young People with ME).   Here's what the Chair of AYME  had to say: 'I wanted to officially thank you on behalf of myself and my fellow trustees for the very helpful and enlightening session. I very much believe it was exactly the kind of help/input that we needed to help us focus on the future. The follow up work that you have so far provided to help us make sense of and prioritise the results of the session is also proving to be invaluable and we very much look forward to meeting you again for a follow up session at a future board meeting.'

To find out more please visit: Pro Bono web page

Monday, 23 June 2014

Evolve (GM) 2014: What people had to say

Pro Bono O.R. was invited to deliver a workshop on 'How to improve your organisations decision making'

The workshop was one of the highest attended workshops of the day and had really positive feedback.

Here is what some of those who attended had to say:

‘I came to this workshop as I didn't know what O.R. was, I can say it’s the best workshop I've been to in a long time and I really bought into it’

‘We didn't know O.R. could help until we spoke to you’


‘What you said made a huge impression’

Alex Whinnom (CEO, GMCVO) who hosted the event said 'It was great to see how many people were interested in your session on Operational Research and we would love to have you back in the future for another session'

Please see my blog post from Monday 16th June for the workshop handouts.

Monday, 16 June 2014

Tweet chat Tuesday 17th June: How can O.R. increase your efficiency and effectiveness?

Join me on twitter using #chatOR to find out how you can receive free support to help your organisation increase its efficiency and effectiveness. Pro Bono O.R. is available for UK based third sector organisations. Please share this post to spread the news.

Evolve (Greater Manchester) GMCVO/NCVO: Evolve workshop handout: How to increase your efficiency and effectiveness

On Friday 13th June GMCVO hosted Evolve Greater Manchester in partnership with NCVO.

This one day conference focused on how the northern voluntary sector is responding and reacting to current massive political, economical and social changes through practical action, mobilisation and completely new ideas.

Pro Bono O.R. was invited to run a workshop which looked at 'How O.R. can help third sector organisations increase there efficiency and effectiveness'.  With the launch of Pro Bono O.R. in September 2013 third sector organisation in the UK can now benefit from free consultancy.

The workshop was run by Graham Rand, Jane Parkin and myself.  It was very well attended, we had very positive feedback and several organisations who wanted to take up the offer of Pro Bono O.R.

To see the workshop handouts please click here



Wednesday, 11 June 2014

Press release: The Operational Research Society is Offering Free Consultancy for Third Sector Organisations



UK-based organisations in the Third Sector can now benefit from Operational Research (O.R.) consultancy. The Operational Research Society (The OR Society) is offering Third Sector organisations the opportunity for consultancy to help reduce costs and improve utilisation of limited resources.


Read the whole press release here: Pro Bono O.R. Press release

Find out more at: Pro Bono O.R. webpage


Thursday, 5 June 2014

Our latest success story with Harrogate and Ripon CVS (Quotes, photo's and case study slide)

Here are a few photo's of our volunteer analyst, Sarah Culkin, in action at Harrogate and Ripon CVS.  The project has just finished and has been a resounding success on both sides.

Karen Weaver (CEO): 'The findings will help inform forward planning for this service and also help to support funding bids.  The project has also played a part in assisting with the integration of this service into the wider organisation.'

Sarah Culkin: 'This project really opened my eyes to the challenges of the third sector, which I will bear in mind in my day job.  I also appreciated seeing the direct impact of my work and using OR skills in a new environment.'




Please click on the following link to see the case study slide: HARCVS case study slide


Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Between the Dashboard and the Chair: The Human Side of Data for Good (Beth Kanter blog)

I came across this blog today via Alex Swallow and was fascinated to read about Beth's yin yang approach to the world of Third Sector data:


I was particularly struck by the yin and yang diagram above and noticed how much this reflected Operational Research (O.R.) which is the discipline of applying appropriate analytical methods to help those who run organisations make better decisions.

The Yin (Technical) is like ‘Hard’ O.R. where the problem is analytically studied using experimental data, measurement, quantification and mathematical modelling.
The Yang (Human) is like ‘Soft’ O.R. which employs predominantly qualitative, rational, interpretative and structured techniques to interpret, define, and explore various perspectives of the problem.

Beth says 'Effective non-profit measurement and data practice requires a balance of both the human side and the technical.   It is like yin and yang, because these seeming contrary ideas and skills sets are actually complementary, interconnected and interdependent.'  Similarly in O.R., by using techniques such as problem structuring methods and mathematical modelling to analyse complex situations, O.R. gives executives the power to make more effective decisions based on more complete information.

The OR Society set up the Pro Bono O.R. initiative in September 2013 after recognising that many Third sector organisations needed help in this area.

If you know of a Third sector (UK based) organisation that would benefit from Pro Bono O.R. help please do get in touch.  Similarly if you would like to become a volunteer analyst please drop me an email felicity.mcleister@theorsociety.com or visit: Pro Bono O.R. webpage