Wednesday, 27 April 2016

Experienced Process Mapper for Triton Swim School

Experienced Process Mapper for Triton Swim School

3rd Sector Operational Research makes National News



Operational Research has been making headline news recently. Click here for more information.

Dr. Giles Hindle from Hull University Business School recently headed up an analytics project to develop new tools to support the Trussel Trust in the UK. Data scientists, business model specialists and academics worked with the Trust on a NEMODE project funded by Research Councils UK (RCUK)’s Digital Economy programme. The project help the trust make the crucial link between their business model and the value of analytics. The team then used cutting edge data science techniques to learn more about the foodbank usage patterns and trends that underpin emergency food provision in the UK. As well as conducting data exploration the team has created the UK’s first dynamic visualisation tool for crises related to food poverty. The prototype uses foodbank data to map geographical demand and also aligns findings to 2011 Census data to predict where additional foodbanks may be needed.

Join us for a free event on 8th June in Manchester where a number of speakers will describe how O.R. has benefited their business. Hear Giles describe first-hand how the project was conducted and find out how you could commission analytical projects for your organisation.

Click Here for further details and to make a booking.

Wednesday, 20 April 2016

Volunteers required for 2 Pro Bono projects

Pro Bono O.R. – enabling managers to make more effective decisions

Projects require skilled professionals who work in operational research, analytics or related professions.  If you have the skills required for a project, we’d love to hear from you.
Please find details of two new projects below that we are seeking a volunteer(s) for:

Tritons Swim School CIC
Information about the organisation:
Charitable objectives:  Education – both swimming lessons and vocational training
Main activities of the organisation:  Swimming lessons and vocational training in Aquatics

Project summary:
Project: Social Franchise for swim schools - Carry out an information mapping exercise to help develop a product enabling schools to run swimming lessons, keeping pools open.
Time commitment: Up to 5 days
Location:  NE London (Waltham Forest College E17 4JB). Much of the work could be done remotely, however two sessions would be required to be carried out at the office.
Please read the project scope and if you feel you are able to offer your assistance please complete the application form and return to me along with your CV by midday on Monday 25th April.

Mary’s
Information about the organisation:
Charitable objectives:  Working together with the community to inspire and enable everyone to reach their full potential in a safe, stimulating and welcoming environment.
Main activities of the organisation:  Youth club. Pre School. Play Scheme. Meeting Rooms.

Project summary:
Project (1): Improving profitability of room-hire: To help Mary’s rooms letting department to identify ways of improving overall revenue
Project (2): Doing the right things, better: To help Mary’s rooms letting department to use their time better, in order to deliver a safer, more responsive and more efficient service
Time commitment: Up to 5 days for each project.
Location:  Islington. The volunteer(s) should be able to spend at least two days on site, to meet staff, collect data, and review results; the remainder of the work can be carried out remotely.
Please read project scope (1)  project scope  (2) and if you feel you are able to offer your assistance please complete the application form and return to me along with your CV by midday on Wednesday 27th April.

I look forward to hearing from you and once again thank you for your help and support.
For further information about the scheme please visit: http://www.theorsociety.com/Pages/Probono/Probono.aspx

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Pro Bono O.R. video - Analysts: volunteer your skills for good causes with Pro Bono O.R.


The Operational Research Society runs its Pro Bono O.R. scheme to match up analysts with charities and other third sector organisations to improve their operations - for free!

This is not only great for the charity but great for the analyst (and their employers), giving you a wider experience, a track record in consultancy and management, and professional stimulation too!

To find out what the volunteers had to say about the scheme click here.

Find out more at about the scheme here or tweet to Felicity McLeister at ‏@FMcLeister to get the conversation started.

Monday, 18 April 2016

Pro Bono O.R. video - Charities: get more from your data with Pro Bono O.R.

Operational Research (O.R.) is the science of better decision making and The Operational Research Society runs its Pro Bono O.R. scheme to match up analysts with charities and other third sector organisations to improve their operations - for free!

On a bright sunny morning in February a group of people gathered together in a function room at Southwark Cathedral to make a film to promote Pro Bono O.R.
Making such a film had been something I’d wanted to do for a little while and this was made possible by the arrival of a full-time marketing and communication manager at The OR Society.

Volunteers and third sector organisations who had taken part in the scheme would be invited to come and talk about their experiences of the scheme in an informal, script-free day full of cake, coffee and filming.

A venue was selected, a date picked and the requests sent out and I was overwhelmed with the positive responses, given the relatively short notice. The day started bright an early, setting up the room and equipment at 8am for our first interviewee from Diabetes UK to begin at 9am.  Throughout the day we had 12 interviewees: six representatives from The Childhood Trust, Marie Curie, Dachshund Breed Council, Disability Law Service and Bloodwise; and six volunteers who were able to attend, many of who had worked with the charities that were represented.

Representatives of organisations who received Pro Bono O.R. support talked about impact of the project, and the effect of the volunteer who worked on it. Volunteers talked about what it is like to work for a different kind of organisation, how they used their skills on the projects they worked on and the benefits to volunteering.

For me personally this was a great opportunity to meet with many of the organisations and volunteers whom I normally only have email and phone contact with.  It was fantastic to hear first-hand about the projects and the enthusiasm and positivity that all who involved got out of being involved with the scheme.

There was so much footage one film has now turned into two.  One is aimed at encouraging more organisations to take up the offer of Pro Bono O.R. and the other is to encourage more O.R. analysts to sign up as volunteers.

I am delighted with the outcome and you can now view the 'Organisations: get more from your data' video here.

Find out more at about the scheme here or tweet to Felicity McLeister at ‏@FMcLeister to get the conversation started.







Tuesday, 12 April 2016


Pro Bono O.R. is a scheme operated by The OR Society that places professional analysts in short term projects with third sector organisations in the UK.

Projects require skilled professionals who work in operational research, analytics or related professions. If you have the skills required for a project, we’d love to hear from you.


Please find details of two new projects below that we are seeking a volunteer(s) for:


Please note all these projects are suitable for an individual, pair or team of analysts. If you would like to volunteer on a project but are not able to commit to the full time requirement please let me know as it may be possible to pair you up with another analyst. Lastly if you would like to work on a project with the support of a mentor please do specify in your application and I can try to arrange this.


Marys


Information about the organisation:

Charitable objectives: Working together with the community to inspire and enable everyone to reach their full potential in a safe, stimulating and welcoming environment.

Main activities of the organisation: Youth club. Pre School. Play Scheme. Meeting Rooms.


Project summary:

Project (1): Improving profitability of room-hire: To help Mary’s rooms letting department to identify ways of improving overall revenue

Project (2)
: Doing the right things, better: To help Mary’s rooms letting department to use their time better, in order to deliver a safer, more responsive and more efficient service

Time commitment: Up to 5 days for each project.

Location: Islington. The volunteer(s) should be able to spend at least two days on site, to meet staff, collect data, and review results; the remainder of the work can be carried out remotely.

Please read project scope (1) project scope (2) and if you feel you are able to offer your assistance please complete the application form and return to me along with your CV by midday on Wednesday 27th April.

We are still looking for volunteers for the following two projects:

Tritons Swim School CIC


Information about the organisation:

Charitable objectives: Education – both swimming lessons and vocational training

Main activities of the organisation: Swimming lessons and vocational training in Aquatics


Project summary:

Project: Social Franchise for swim schools - Carry out an information mapping exercise to help develop a product enabling schools to run swimming lessons, keeping pools open.

Time commitment: Up to 5 days

Location: NE London (Waltham Forest College E17 4JB). Much of the work could be done remotely, however two sessions would be required to be carried out at the office.

Please read the project scope and if you feel you are able to offer your assistance please complete the application form and return to me along with your CV by midday on Monday 25th April.


Manor Gardens Welfare Trust

Information about the organisation:


Main activities of the organisation: Manor Gardens is a multicultural health and social care charity who work with local people to change their lives, tell their stories and influence the world.


Project summary:

Project: Review use of accommodation (utilisation, income) and the database that supports the management of it. Recommend options for improved utilisation/revenue and management of these.

Time commitment: Approx. 5-6 days, over 2-3 months.

Location: London, N7 6LA. Initial meeting on site and then further work to be carried out remotely.

Please read the project scope and if you feel you are able to offer your assistance please complete the application form and return to me along with your CV by midday on Monday 25th April.

If you are interested in working on any of these projects but cannot meet the deadline specified please do register your interest in the first instance before the deadline.

I look forward to hearing from you and once again thank you for your help and support.








Thursday, 7 April 2016

New to volunteering? Some top tips for successful outcomes - part 2 (Guest blog from Ruth Kaufman)

Many thanks to Ruth Kaufman (President of The OR Society) for writing this guest blog.


New to volunteering? Some top tips for successful outcomes


“O.R.” is one of the most adaptable disciplines imaginable, and its practitioners are among the most flexible, prepared to bring scientific rigour and methods to any question even if it is outside their previous specialism. Given this adventurous approach, it is always a good idea to see if there are any tips from previous explorers.

For Pro Bono O.R., there are two types of novelty for many of us: working with charities, and working as volunteers. Neither of these are terribly difficult areas, but they both bring special issues which are worth noting. This post looks at working as a volunteer (a previous post looks at working with charities for the first time). So here are 3 misconceptions about volunteering, and 3 top tips for working as a volunteer.

Misconception 1: working as a volunteer means the charity gets your services for free
. There may be no significant financial cost to the charity. But money is only one measure of cost. The time taken to brief you, to provide you with appropriate data, to listen to and implement your conclusions; and the emotional/psychological challenge of displaying the organisation’s or staff’s weaknesses, accepting reliance on an outsider, and changing mindsets if need be; these are major costs, not to be underestimated.

Misconception 2: “what is not paid for is not valued”
. On the contrary, we all receive a great deal for free, that many of us value very highly, whether it is support from friends, family and neighbours; having a lifeboat service; a walk in the park; listening to the radio; leaving our unwanted goods at charity shops; votes for women – the list is endless. Ofcourse there are some free-loaders; and many free goods that we don’t notice and therefore don’t appreciate; but for most people, most of the time, payment is not the determinant of value.

Misconception 3: the lower the cost, the more likely people are to use services wastefully
. It’s not quite fair to call this a misconception, as it is certainly true of some people, and some circumstances. But there are many circumstances where people are so keen not to take advantage, and not to waste the time of others, that they prefer not to ask than to risk wasting. If you doubt it, think of all those times that you haven’t liked to waste a busy colleague’s time asking for help, or waste a meeting’s time discussing a point of clarification if you think only you need it, or waste the doctor’s time with a trivial complaint.

And the top tips:

1) treat the commitment with the same respect as a paid commitment… You should treat agreement to undertake a pro bono project as a commitment just as great as anything you do under contract. Legally, of course it is not; but you will only be successful if you drive that thought from your mind. Commitment to timings and to the agreed quality should be as rigorous as if you were being paid: don’t think that because it is unpaid, standards can be lowered mid-project. Equally importantly (especially bearing in mind misconception 3, above) don’t let the client think it.

2) …but manage expectations, including your own As a volunteer, there are likely to be a lot of ‘other things’ going on in your life that could blow you off course. Do your best to make allowances for these before commitment. And remember that – especially if you have already shown yourself to be competent, reliable and honest – others will be willing to make allowances for you if you do find yourself unable to deliver. The support of the Pro Bono scheme is available to back you up, and stand in for y, if necessary – you are not alone.

3) manage your emotional involvement Chances are, you are working for free because you sympathise with the charity’s cause. You may even find this sympathy growing as your engagement progresses. Take care to balance this with your professional duties:

don’t allow your desire to do something for the cause, to override your professional judgement on the extent of your competence, or the amount of time something will take, or the amount of time you can commit to it;

don’t accept timing drift or scope drift that interferes with your own needs, however much you sympathise;

don’t allow your empathy with an organisation’s activities, culture or difficulties to override your professional judgement and willingness to challenge.

4) make the most of it! Hopefully, you are only doing this voluntarily because you think it is worth it. Don’t let any pressures that occur along the way take that away from you. Pro Bono OR is worthwhile for charities, and worthwhile for the OR Society – make sure it is also worthwhile for you.

To see some of the projects we've worked on and to find out how to get involved please visit the Pro Bono O.R. webpage

Monday, 4 April 2016

New projects with Pro Bono O.R.


Please find details of two new projects below that we are seeking a volunteer(s) for:


Tritons Swim School CIC

Information about the organisation

Charitable objectives: Education – both swimming lessons and vocational training

Main activities of the organisation: Swimming lessons and vocational training in Aquatics


Project summary:

Project: Social Franchise for swim schools - Carry out an information mapping exercise to help develop a product enabling schools to run swimming lessons, keeping pools open.

Time commitment: Up to 5 days

Location: NE London (Waltham Forest College E17 4JB). Much of the work could be done remotely, however two sessions would be required to be carried out at the office.

Please read the project scope and if you feel you are able to offer your assistance please complete the application form and return to me along with your CV by midday on Monday 25th April.



Manor Gardens Welfare Trust

Information about the organisation

Charitable objectives:

· To relieve the needs arising from financial hardship, sickness, disability and old age

· To advance education

· To promote mental and physical good health

· To provide assistance to children and young people who are in need of care and attention rising from their youth

· To promote social inclusion for the public benefit by preventing people from becoming socially excluded, relieving the needs of those people who are socially excluded and assisting them to integrate into society.

Main activities of the organisation: Manor Gardens is a multicultural health and social care charity who work with local people to change their lives, tell their stories and influence the world.

Project summary:

Project: Review use of accommodation (utilisation, income) and the database that supports the management of it. Recommend options for improved utilisation/revenue and management of these.

Time commitment: Approx. 5-6 days, over 2-3 months.

Location: London, N7 6LA. Initial meeting on site and then further work to be carried out remotely.

Please read the project scope and if you feel you are able to offer your assistance please complete the application form and return to me along with your CV by midday on Monday 25th April.

If you require any further information please do not hesitate to get in touch: felicity.mcleister@theorsociety.com or 0121 233 9300

I look forward to hearing from you and once again thank you for your help and support.

For further information about the scheme please visit: http://www.theorsociety.com/Pages/Probono/Probono.aspx

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