Tag Archives: Transfer of Innovation

TOI ‘Scaling New Heights’ Conference | September 4th, 2013

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The conference was hosted by Northumbria University in the Great Hall of the Sutherland Building. In excess of 50 people attended from a variety of public, private and third sector organisations. The conference was moderated by Professor Andrea Fleschenberg PhD, Quaid-i-Azam University, Islamabad, Pakistan who did a wonderful job of keeping everyone on task and on time.

The Deputy Lord Mayor of Newcastle, Councillor George Pattison welcomed everyone and shared his thoughts on how important this type of European work is for people who are struggling due to long term unemployment, and identifying some areas within his own constituency as a local councillor where the use of the Rickter Process would be particularly useful. 

SNH 05 - Prof Andrea Fleschenberg_ Sherrif & Deputy Lord Mayor George Pattison

Nan Wood, Director of Operations, The Rickter Company spoke about the background of the Rickter Scale® which is the innovation being transferred in this project. She explained the process of using the board, giving examples of good practice in the UK and described the transition the partner organisations had made from working together on a previous Leonardo Project to this Transfer of Innovation, ‘Scaling New Heights’.

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Keith Stead, CEO, The Rickter Company then presented the outcomes of the project highlighting all of the hard work and dedication of the Partners. The main areas presented looked at the distance travelled towards goals for each country and the challenges that each client group faced. It was interesting to note that the barriers to employment faced by clients in Germany, Greece and Italy were no different to those in the United Kingdom.

SNH 15 - Aristea Liarokapi, Antonia Torrens, Marina Zotaki, Eleni Koulosousa

The afternoon sessions started with a video of the May 2012 earthquake in the Carpi region of Italy, which hugely affected the people who were taking part in the project, both as practitioners and as clients. It was noted that where the Richter Scale measured the impact on the ground that day, the Rickter Scale® measured the impact it had on the people.

SNH 02 - Serena DAngelo, Licia Boccaletti

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We then moved on to participate in an ‘Information Carousel’ where each country had their own stand in the room and the audience, who had been divided into four groups, visited each one for 15 minutes and then moved on – speed dating with a difference! It offered the audience an opportunity to hear first hand from each partner country their experiences and outcomes of using the Rickter Scale®. This was very well received and was one of the highlights of the conference.

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SNH023 sessionProfessor Andrea Fleschenberg then hosted a Talk Show to share good practice where set questions were asked of the guests: Jon Clapham, Dept of Work and Pensions; Mick Carey, Careers Europe and Kushwanth Koya, Northumbria University.

SNH024 session

This was followed by the Keynote Speaker, Dr Deirdre Hughes OBE who talked about the importance of measuring soft indicators and shared some of the report she has recently presented to Government Ministers through the National Careers Council entitled, “An Aspirational Nation” and its objective as Dr Hughes described it of “a career for life”.

SNH026 Dr Deirdre Hughes_NW_RH

The conference came to a close with representatives from each country sharing their personal experiences of the project.

SNH 04 - Alfons Müller Rita Neidhardt

Everyone felt that the partnership had worked particularly well and Alfons Muller, ZIB, Germany who is the Project Coordinator, expressed his gratitude for the dedication of all the partners and remarked on how much everyone has gained professionally, personally and culturally from this Transfer of Innovation.

SNH 14 - Keith  Licia Boccaletti - Alfons Müller  Aristea Liarokap

Some examples of feedback we have received since the Conference:

“I enjoyed hearing about the Scaling New Heights project and that we are all encountering similar issues, whether we are in the UK or elsewhere”.

“Just wanted to thank you for the opportunity to hear what you and the team have been up to here and across Europe. It was a fascinating conference day… loads of information and simply inspirational (as things with the Rickter Scale® tend to be)”.

First of all just to say I thought the day went exceptionally well last week – especially the carousel – feedback was clear, well presented and very positive, big well done!”

Measuring Earthquakes

Rickter Scale Board with OverlaysThe 6.0 magnitude earthquake hit at around 4am local time on Sunday, 20 May 2012, in the Emilia Romagna region of Northern Italy between the historic cities of Bologna, Modena and Ferrara. Within that triangle lies the town of Carpi, the home of our partner organisation Anziani e Non Solo.

The quake was almost as powerful as one which devastated the central region of Abruzzo in 2009, killing more than 300 people and leaving tens of thousands homeless.

Although there were far fewer casualties from Sunday’s earthquake, it was felt as far away as Venice, the German-speaking South Tyrol region of far northern Italy and the Friuli region on the border with Slovenia.

Thousands of panic-stricken residents ran out into the streets in their nightclothes, as statues crashed down from centuries-old palazzi and the roofs of churches collapsed.

The ministry of cultural heritage in Rome said damage to historic buildings and the artistic treasures they contained was “significant”.

Emilia Romagna is renowned for its balsamic vinegar and prosciutto ham, and the region’s culinary icons did not escape damage either. The balsamic vinegar loft that we had visited in Carpi only months earlier was destroyed.

Enzo Boschi, a reputed seismologist, said it was the biggest earthquake to have hit the region for centuries. And as experts warned of the dangers of aftershocks, a strong new quake of 5.1 on the Richter Scale hit the region in the afternoon, with further aftershocks following for several days.

(Acknowledgement for some of the above to Nick Squires: The Telegraph – online, 20 May 2012)

We have always said that like the Richter Scale that measures movement in the earth, our own Rickter Scale® measures movement in people. In this instance, by using the Rickter Scale® it was also possible to measure the impact that the earthquake had on the people of Carpi – at least those who were the clients of Anziani e Non Solo.

Our partner’s headquarters and training facilities were so damaged, and their activities so badly disrupted that no client interviews could take place for three months. However, once the Rickter Scale® interviews resumed, it became apparent just how much the May 20th earthquake had impacted on the lives of ordinary people.

The Rickter Scale® does not only measure how people reflect the circumstances of their lives by simply scaling those responses from zero to ten. For each scaling, the individual is recording precisely how they are thinking and how they are feeling about their own personal experiences, and by that means they tell their life’s story.

And so in the months following the earthquake, the team of practitioners at Anziani e Non Solo were learning exactly how much their clients had been in a heightened state of stress, how they felt altogether more vulnerable and anxious, not only in terms of fearing more aftershocks, but in their personal lives, economically and socially.

On the Richter Scale, the earthquake had measured 6.0. On the Rickter Scale® that same event had subsequently been recorded as having a far reaching and highly significant impact that touched every part of every individual’s life who experienced it. Even client’s responses to the employability questions which were part of our Transfer of Innovation project – each client’s quantitative scalings and qualitative narrative interpretation, clearly show how the people of Carpi were affected.

The Rickter Scale® Process does not only record the individual’s present state, but offers the opportunity to make informed choices and take responsibility for setting goals and agreeing action plans for the future. It may just be, as a result of the partnership being caught up in this devastating event, that together we can develop a new Frame of Reference – a specific set of cue questions that can be put to those who find their world turned upside down by similar disasters anywhere in the world: an adaptation of the Rickter Scale® Process that could effectively help to lay the foundations for rebuilding the lives of both individuals and communities: a means of creating hope and determination out of tragedy.

Transfer of Innovation Meeting – Carpi, Italy

TOI Meeting, Feb 2013Keith and Nan attended a meeting for our Leonardo Transfer of Innovation in Carpi, Italy last week. This is our last meeting before we host a conference in Newcastle on the 4th September to share our outcomes. The project is being led by GBB in Germany and partnered by KMOP in Greece and ANS in Italy, as well as ourselves. We received a lot of positive feedback on how the Rickter Scale® is being used in these different countries and cultures, as well as with a variety of client groups.

GBB are working with women returning to work, mainly female immigrants. They are incorporating Rickter into their coaching service to support the process of placements.  They have said that it offers them up a lot of information in a very short period of time. There have been some language barriers, but using the scale makes it easier to communicate. By using the Rickter Scale® the Practitioners have recognised that some migrant women are affected by their culture around religion and their husbands influence. The result being that they find it very difficult to make choices and recognise self-responsibility. However when they are encouraged to Action Plan at review interviews they recognise the movement on the board as a positive outcome. GBB are also offering vocational training to young males and have noticed that whilst normally these young men are very closed to sharing feelings, they do open up when using the Rickter Scale®.  GBB want to continue to use the Rickter Scale® in future.

KMOP are working with people who have long-term mental health issues and learning disabilities. They are supporting them from institutional life into independent living. They too like using the Rickter Scale® and have had positive outcomes with those who are more able.  It again has helped the client group to recognise choice and contribute to changes in their lives. Usually it is the Psychologists and Psychiatrists who do assessments, but one of the Practitioners has stated how useful Rickter is for her to engage with the clients and not have to wait on clinical reports. Rickter is helping her to communicate with and read her clients.  This has increased her confidence in her work role and encouraged her to be a more positive advocate for her clients. KMOP will continue to use Rickter in the future.

ANS are working with immigrants to Italy who would like to become carers for the elderly.  They have to speak Italian and be able to work within the family home, usually living as part of the family group. They have found Rickter most useful for assessing the progress of clients through the Care Course they offer. It is being used to encourage motivation and responsibility around a work/life balance. The clients enjoy using the Rickter Scale® and the one-to-one time it gives them with the Practitioners. There are barriers around their level of Italian and sometimes they have difficulty expressing their feelings in a second language, but the Rickter process helps to make things easier. ANS will continue to use the Rickter Scale® in line with their course, but also as a follow-up to help clients maintain motivation and encourage self reliability. This area was badly affected by the earthquake last year and people had terrible losses to come to terms with. We made the comparison that the Richter Scale measured the seismic change in the area, but the Rickter Scale® measured the change in the people.

The Rickter Company are using data that has been agreed with an existing customer to show comparisons in the UK.

What is coming up for Rickter in 2013?

What is coming up for Rickter in 2013?

Well for me at the moment it reads like a European Tour! I am off to Bulgaria in January to do a monitoring visit for the practitioners who are working on the Rickter Sustained Employment Model in Plevin.

flightIn February I’m heading back to Bulgaria with Keith, this time to the capital of Sofia to have a meeting with our European Partners around the Mobility Project we are working on. At the end of the month it will be over to Carpi in Italy to monitor our Italian Practitioners and have a meeting with our Transfer of Innovation Partners to look at how using the Rickter Scale is progressing in Italy, Greece and Germany and also to start planning our conference. Look out for it!  It will be held at Northumberland University Campus in Newcastle on the 4th September.

In March I will be off to Dublin, delivering some Rickter Scale Training. Please contact us on 01463 717177 if you would be interested in attending this open course, which is scheduled for the 7th March.

Later on in March I will be returning to Bulgaria again to monitor progress and offer support to our practitioners.

Romania calls in June for Keith and myself, as part of our Grundtvig Partnership where we are exploring support mechanisms for parents and professionals who are supporting children affected by social/media addiction.

September brings our Transfer of Innovation Project to an end and we will have everyone in Newcastle for this.

Meanwhile we will all be busy delivering training in the UK and working on new developments and the promotion of Rickter. I wonder when Rick made the first board on his kitchen table whether he thought it would become so far travelled….

Adapting the Rickter Scale Process for marginalized groups moving towards employability

It’s great to report that our Transfer of Innovation Project with 3 European partners is now well and truly underway:

THE PROJECT: Scaling New Heights in VET – Adapting the Rickter Scale® Process to improve and monitor the journey of marginalized groups towards employability.

‘Scaling New Heights’ is a project funded by the European Commission, under the LLP-LDV Transfer of Innovation Programme.

612The central idea of the project is to adapt our Rickter Scale® Process and Impact Management System to the needs of different disadvantaged target beneficiary groups in the 4 participating countries: UK, Germany, Italy and Greece. The adaptation will also ensure that the Process will be both linguistically accurate and culture-specific for the participating organisations and their clients.

The assessment process will help the target beneficiary groups become aware of, and then build on pre-existing skills and attributes that they have previously not been in a position to evidence or validate, and of the distance they have travelled in acquiring their present skill level. This empowerment process can be an enormous confidence boost to them, enhancing both self-esteem and self-worth. It also serves them in accessing the labour market.

The target group for ZIB in Germany is women returners, many of whom are immigrants from Eastern Europe, working towards Vocational Qualifications.

In Greece our partner KMOP is a large NGO, who wants to use Rickter with people who have long-term mental health issues who live in supported accommodation which the organisation also runs.

In Italy, ANS are working with carers of the elderly who currently do not have the required qualifications to be officially recognized in the labour market.

Through the implementation of the Rickter Scale® Process, partner organisations will be able to adapt and improve their existing vocational methods and systems to the increased demands of the job market and ever more complex and diverse needs of their target groups.

During the project Nan wood and Keith Stead will represent the UK as part of the TOI Steering Group, with meetings hosted by each partner in Cologne, Germany, in Athens, Greece and in Carpi, Italy.

Staff of the partner organisations have already been trained and licensed by us in Newcastle as Rickter Scale® Practitioners. Having been introduced to the basic principles and theoretical models behind the Rickter Scale® Process, they trialled the use of the tool between December 2011 and February 2012 using the generic ‘Lifeboard’ Frame of Reference, gaining experience of how to support each individual user in developing an action plan.

At our Follow-up Training back in Newcastle in February, first locally adapted Overlay for the Scale was developed that the partners will now implement in their organisations until this September, when we will again review their feedback, together with an aggregation, analysis and interpretation of all IMS data.

On this basis, the Rickter Scale® Process will be again adapted in line with the experiences and recommendations being fed back from both practitioners and beneficiaries, in turn reflecting the specific needs of the different target beneficiary groups. Final translations will then be made into the partner languages enabling the last phase of implementation to take place.

The final phase of the project will be to publish and disseminate the cumulative findings and outputs of the project, including the holding of an international conference in Newcastle and the release of a Final Evaluation and Project Report.