Puffell supports International Day of Happiness

I’m very happy that the team at Puffell (puffell.com) are supporting #InternationalDayofHappiness, 2015.international day of happiness

Every year, Action for Happiness uses the 20th of March as a platform to launch a campaign to promote positive social action for a happier world. The theme always focuses attention on an important social issue related to wellbeing; this year, our theme is ‘Your happiness is part of something bigger’.

From this I think we fuse in Age UK #NotByMySelfie campaign and show our support (like me going to see my little nan).

“This epidemic of loneliness and isolation has very serious effects. Social isolation is as potent a cause of early death as smoking, and loneliness is twice as deadly as obesity.”

Have a very happy day!


Michael VJ Jones, ICE Creates Ltd (michael.jones@icecreates.com)

The 101 practical guide to creating sustained behaviour change

It is fair to say most public health professionals have a good grasp of behaviour change theories.

The challenge is understanding exactly how behavioural theories are used in an effective, evidence-based and scalable way. Having spent 16 years supporting public health teams deliver outstanding results in their communities, we have witnessed how teams can initially struggle with the concept that behavioural models do not have to be addressed in their entirety and can be ‘bent’ and deconstructed to apply different aspects as part of an ‘intervention mix’. There is also a misconception that behaviour change programmes lack a robust evidence base, or that innovation and trying something new can be risky and expensive.

Our workshops – “The Practical Guide to Changing Behaviours – The Key to Public Service Reform” – help you sort the facts from the myths. In a recent workshop we carried out with pubic health professionals, participants sparked debates and conversations, thinking about how behavioural theories might apply to specific topic areas such as alcohol, welfare, money and debt management, housing, smoking, healthy weight, physical exercise, social care, education and crime and disorder. Delegates were able to use the learning as a basis to segment and target different audience groups.

At the end of the workshop there is a growing understanding of the science underpinning behavioural theories and how this can be applied to your work, raising pertinent questions and real topical issues such as the role of choice and law in behaviour theories.

Our workshops are co-creative and fully participative with real challenges that can start to be solved. We help to facilitate these conversations within your team and to foster new ways of thinking about the role of behaviour change in health and local government. In one recent session, the concept of moving citizens away from states of dependency to interdependency, supporting themselves and one another (e.g. through peer support networks) instead of relying on organised intervention and the dreaded perception of the ‘nanny state’.

Here is some session feedback received from pervious sessions.

“Thank you to all the team for coming over and delivering the Behaviour Change workshop event yesterday. I have to say I have received extremely positive and complimentary anecdotal feedback. Not one person I have spoken to (and I have informally canvassed a fair few opinions) has said they felt they wasted time or it wasn’t, at the very least, thought provoking. No small feat when, as you know probably better than most, there is always a fairly high degree of cynicism and scepticism with this type of subject area and senior teams.“

Your training will be led by Stuart Jackson. Stuart founded ICE in 1999. In his role as Chief Executive, Stuart is a passionate and ethical leader – inspiring and delivering sustainable change in communities and organisations across the UK. He is one of main driving forces and visionary behind ICE, establishing and embedding the unique values that have helped so many companies, communities and individuals to improve their lives and fulfil their potential.

He is passionate about understanding the symbiotic relationships between behaviour, values and culture, and uses this to drive positive social and organisational change with clients and networks spanning central and local government, the NHS, the Third Sector, and private sector.

At present, Stuart is strategically working with senior civil servants and MPs, as well as Health leaders, in CCGs, National Commission Board, Hospital Trusts and Pharmaceutical organisations, to drive the self care and well-being agenda. He was invited to present to Royal Society for Psychiatrists on the importance of behaviour change in the provision and commissioning of mental health and wellness services and at the World Social Marketing Conference in Toronto on the role of self care, behaviour change and drug adherence.

Ask us about your behaviour change workshop – stuart.jackson@icecreates.com


What colour is the dress?

It seems the whole world was looking at one dress last week, and it was nothing to do with a celebrity on the red What colour is the dresscarpet. Just a basic question about a normal dress – ‘What colour is this dress?’

What I found really interesting about this was the debate: “It’s obviously white and gold”, “what do you mean white and gold? It’s blue and black”. People were passionate, I was passionate. We all saw something and couldn’t understand why others couldn’t see what we did. It’s understandable; we believe what we see – I believe what I saw. But then what I saw changed, I had told everyone it was blue and black, and then suddenly I saw it white and gold. Wow, my perspective changed!

I spend a lot of time in my job helping people look at things from a different perspective, the customer’s perspective. We gather lots of data to show what services feel like from a customer’s perspective – to ‘stand in a customer’s shoes’, to see what colour the dress really is. In organisations it can be difficult to understand that truth. To find out what it’s like now, but without that knowledge, we can’t hope to improve… we might just make it different. Later this week I’m kicking off a new piece of transformation and will use this story to explain why change needs to be based on real insight, not assumption. I’ll let you know how I get on.

In the end, I did my research, gathered more data, and you know what? The dress is actually….

You didn’t think I would say, did you?

If you’d like to know more about how ICE work with organisations to gain true insight and transform services, contact Chris Lunn (chris.lunn@icecreates.com) #intheirshoes



Learning new leadership and team skills – with sheepdogs!

A new form of leadership and team-building training is taking the business world by storm – using sheepdogs to allow managers to hone the art of gentle and non-aggressive personnel management.

By working with the natural elements of shepherding and sheep farming, managers attending the innovative courses in Cumbria are able to draw their own conclusions about their behaviour in the office, the boardroom, and clinical practice to find the best way forward.

“We don’t tell clients what they need to do or change, they work it out themselves,” says Stuart Jackson, co-founder. “That’s what makes the Your Natural Leaders experience all the more powerful.”

Why Work With Sheep Dogs? 

The benefits of working with dogs and sheep are many:

  • They are non-judgemental (they do not condescend or criticise) – everyone can learn constructively from mistakes and successes
  • They give an immediate response (they don’t discriminate no matter your position at work, and won’t move if they don’t want to) – you get instant and honest safe feedback, a perfect mirror to learn from.
  • They respond to non-verbal communication – meaning you learn how to make your message clear through your movements, posture, body language, and tone of voice (you already do this at work and at home, understanding your impact at this level is very empowering)
  • They reward your efforts once you have earned your authority and their respect – encouraging and developing leadership through rapport, respect and trust, not power and authority. It is truly remarkable.

The Your Natural Leaders Working Sheepdog Experience uses a unique combination of talent from the world of leadership, change specialists and sheepdog trialling.

Your Natural Leaders invites delegates to consider their own experience, styles and impacts from totally different perspectives. In every session people are often surprised by their own capacity to generate new, powerful and useful ideas, insights and models about their own experience as leaders and how they might move and change their models, strategies and tactics in the work place.

Surprisingly, a large number of people also find positive impacts for their personal lives too. Later sessions allow peers to support each other to explore how to deploy new behaviours in a safe way and build them around existing beliefs, both on the field and in the briefing and de-briefing sessions in our newly purpose-built Natural Leaders learning facility.

Click here to find out more about how you can get incredible value and a lasting experience that will truly make a positive difference and generate lasting outcomes from your training budget. 

Annual Reports: what the smart Communications and Marketing Managers are doing

If the thought of reading an annual report gives you a headache, you aren’t alone. Just thinking about the writing and designing of one is enough to make the most of us want to lie down in a darkened room.

But we all know that, if designed well and presented in the right format, annual reports are a great way to present your organisation’s achievements, as well as highlight what is unique.

The best annual reports will engage stakeholders and win you loyal fans; and as more emphasis is placed on creative presentation, it’s finally becoming the latest format to benefit from good design – online and offline. Here are examples of what the best are doing…

This interactive annual report from Shopify last year packs in a lot of data (and who doesn’t have to do that?) yet makes it easily digestible, using interactive elements. As a scrolling webpage, the report can combine readable graphs, eye-catching animations, linked images and a timeline of events to communicate engaging information. Check out how it encourages you to share key issues on social media too. 

Interactivity is not the preserve of slick international brands. We have experience of producing dynamic Prezis that really engage and capture audiences, for example. Click here to see how Heywood, Middleton & Rochdale handled their annual public health report using interactive Prezi, with embedded video links.

Check out how Kickstarter also incorporate video with the simple and clean presentation of data.

With the right support, you can make complex copy simple to read and use designs that are relevant to your organisation’s culture and ambition.

Most organisations publish a summary of the annual report intended for public consumption. Now you have seen these examples, how have you been inspired?

If you need a hand and would like ICE to provide you with additional support for your annual report, at an affordable cost and pace – come have a chat with us here.

Four essential steps to assessing organisation culture and employee values to drive innovation, creativity and growth

“Create thriving communities: listen to the needs of your employees and create an environment that helps them to thrive.”

The B Team / Virgin Unite, “New Ways of Working”, Jan 2015

(www.bteam.org / www.virgin.com/unite)

Back in the 80’s and 90’s, organisations started to put lists of ‘values’ up on walls and point at them and say, “these are our values now” – somehow expecting a shift in behaviour and performance. Or say something like “we’re implementing a transformation programme”, and later scoff: “we’ve tried all that transformation stuff and it didn’t work”.

But many organisations are now waking up to the realisation that smart and committed people are their most valuable resource.

Yes we’ve heard this before, but now we are living in an exciting period of time where the world is changing, and putting more focus on people: recognising the importance of their wellbeing, their values, and their beliefs. When you engage with people on this level you can expect significant impacts on creativity and innovation, productivity, and profitability.

At ICE we have been working with a number of clients to help them do just that. We have tools and approaches that help organisations create a balance between hard issues (such as processes and systems) on the one hand, and soft issues (such as culture and values) on the other. Working together, we ensure these are aligned and support the overall purpose and direction of the organisation.

How do we do this? 

So take ‘values’ for example. Values are usually based upon deeply held personal beliefs about the world, and reflect a person’s moral sense of right and wrong, or simply what they believe they ought to be. The aims of values is to provide us with an internal reference for what we think is good, beneficial, important, useful, beautiful, desirable, constructive, and so on. This helps us to understand why we do the things that we do, so putting a list of arbitrary values on a wall can actually be a bit of a waste of time – and in some cases, quite counter-productive.

So we have developed a unique enterprise mapping tool called ICE-Berg to assess sociability and conformance, and drive for advancement across an organisation. We also work with clients to develop question sets that enable us to map how well explicit values resonate within and across an organisation. Using this tool is one way of considering the four essential ingredients to assessing values alignment within an organisation. They are:

  1. Develop an understanding of the ‘desired-cultural-state’ based on real organisational needs rather than arbitrary sets of behaviours or values
  2. Map the ‘actual-cultural-state’ and identify actions to address any gaps; including transformation, training, and coaching interventions
  3. Develop a coaching culture based on regular reviews alongside existing performance and competency reviews
  4. Develop a foundation for succession planning and recruitment based on how well people resonate with cultural values and behavioural norms.

Using this approach we can create strong links between culture, purpose and systems, leading organisations to a tipping point – a fertile state for an organisation to begin its journey to sustainable excellence based on continual engagement and development of people.

For a free consultation and demonstration of the ICE-Berg assessment tool, contact Justin Wrench on justin.wrench@icecreates.com / 0151 647 4700.

Significant savings and improved performance in Revs & Bens – you’ll be amazed how they achieved it!

Tewkesbury Borough Council were looking to make efficiencies in the Revenues & Benefits Service through identifying improvements in efficiencies and realising capacity and cashable savings.

At the outset it was clear that the service appeared to have a significant backlog of work (in particular in Benefits) which had been the norm for some time.  As a result, their performance in the national league tables was one of the lowest in the area.

The review concentrated on the two separate workstreams with representatives from the teams, managers and support services coming together to form a core team. The scope of the work was focused on Benefits processing and Revenues administration (to include both Council Tax and on-Domestic Rates).

No ‘magic wand’

There was no magic wand. This project used the principles of Lean Systems Thinking to deliver the following outcomes:

  • Improve the effectiveness of the Revenues process to meet purpose of issuing the right bill, to the right customer at the right time, and therefore increase collection rates.
  • Reduce the end-to-end times for processing Benefit claims and changes in circumstances
  • Improve the processes to achieve a better customer experience
  • Reduce levels of handoff, duplication and other waste within the processes.


Here’s how it worked…

This work was based on the ICE model for service transformation.

It began with a period (Establish) designed to set up the engagement cleanly by building relationships across the service and with wider stakeholders to ensure the most value from the review.

During the Explore stage, a team representing the whole of the service, plus some of the wider support services, was brought together, to create a current state map.  This visual representation of the in-scope work included the demands placed on the service by its customers, the flow of work, data to show the performance of the systems along with details of the system conditions.

The Envisage stage then allowed the team to present these findings back to the wider stakeholder group at a vision workshop.  It was at this event that areas for improvement were agreed and buy in from across the organisation was gained. This buy-in was vital to ensure that any changes would be sustained in the future.

The areas for improvement included:

  • Working to get complete applications in first time
  • Improving the cleanliness of information around change of circumstances
  • Reducing the number of Council Tax bills issued incorrectly
  • Issuing bills to new properties with provisional bandings

There then followed the Experiment stage, where changes were tried out and measured against data collected in Explore to understand what outcomes could be achieved. Once the concepts were proven, the team went on to Embed the changes and incorporate them as business as usual.

Benefits Achieved

  • Elimination of backlog of work
  • New claims – reduction in end-to-end time from 37 days to 11 days
  • Change of circumstances – reduction in end-to-end processing time from 25 days to 8 days
  • Significant increase in Benefits subsidy achieved
  • 80% Reduction in failure demand into the Benefits service
  • 75% increase in Revenues customers having their accounts administered at the point of contact
  • 60% reduction in incorrect ad-hoc bills produced
  • Improved staff communications with daily, self-managed team ‘huddles’ to promote ownership and efficiency
  • Capacity release to undertake a more proactive approach
  • Identified savings in excess of £250,000.


At ICE, we combine Lean Systems Thinking with other organisational development and behaviour change tools to make better happen. To find out more, get in touch (0845 5193 423 / ideas@icecreates.com)

How can you make the most of digital communications?

Today, our global digital universe is full of billions of things that require you to do something, act and makepeopleshapedmodel
a decision. When faced with a range of complex challenges and pressures, how can you best use digital tools and techniques to help our communities and empower them to take action?

That’s the question we’re exploring with a variety of organisations who are successfully using digital solutions to engage local people and break down the barriers to sustainable behaviour change.

ICE digital solutions are built upon our philosophy to meet each of us in context, to evoke feelings and beliefs that
matter to us, and to motivate us to act differently. Here are some of the key trends we’ve identified:

  • Think objective first, NOT channel. It’s all to easy too fall into a trap of thinking “we need to do some social media”, or “we need an app”, but take a step back and consider what you’re trying to achieve. Yes, these might be the right channels, but is that decision insight-driven? If not, your efforts to create the right environment to reshape attitudes around, say, vandalism or anti-social behaviour, will always fall short. Get it right and you’ll see measurable results (take our recent integrated campaign with one CDRP, which supported a 7% fall in violent crime, and a 45% reduction in public order offenses over a one month period).
  • Set KPIs at the outset. It seems obvious, but setting clear KPIs and using robust monitoring to evaluate activity is just as important for digital communications as any other sphere of your work. So whether it’s web applications, mobile phone apps or social media tools, there are a range of bespoke evaluation tools you can use to help you demonstrate reach and value for money.
  • Get ‘people-centred’. It’s a fact, mass communications don’t work. Focus on user experience, whilst developing a system that is visually engaging, accessible, flexible and importantly, easy for you to manage. Our design and UX (user experience) expertise, coupled with our deep understanding of the behaviours of users, has helped us to create online experiences that truly engage and deliver real outcomes for our clients. It’s essential to segment target groups and personalise your communications. That way, you develop integrated, end-to-end solutions which positively influence and motivate people.
  • ‘Co-create’ solutions with your audience. Of course, working together will be an integral part of your multi-agency approach. However, it’s worth considering how you can actively involve target groups in developing and refining solutions, which enable you to interact with them in different, more productive ways. For instance, we regularly use usability testing groups to ensure web development work is truly user-friendly and meets users’ needs and expectations.

At ICE, we understand the true engagement power of an easy to use, fun and enjoyable digital experience, and we have spent 1000s of hours developing our expertise to provide digital solutions for a wide range of publicly funded organisations across the UK.

For more information about our digital services, visit: digital.icecreates.com





ICE-Berg: Culture & Values Mapping Tool

Culture eats strategy over breakfast” – Peter Drucker

From experience, we believe that values and beliefs inform performance as much as skills and competence. So, weice berg have developed a unique enterprise mapping tool called ICE-Berg, which is based on the five factor psychological personality model to assess sociability and conformance, and drive for advancement across an organisation (including openness to change or assertiveness for example). We also work with clients to develop question sets that enable us to map how well explicit values resonate within and across an organisation. Using this tool we can:

  • Develop an understanding of the ‘desired-cultural-state’ based on real organisational needs rather than arbitrary sets of behaviours or values
  • Map the ‘actual-cultural-state’ and identify actions to address any gaps, including transformation, training and coaching interventions
  • Develop a coaching culture based on regular reviews alongside existing performance and competency reviews
  • Develop a foundation for succession planning and recruitment based on how well people resonate with cultural values and behavioural norms

We don’t know of anybody else who can provide a bespoke tool, which maps values and is supported by our in-house Organisational Development experts.

What outcomes can you expect?

Strong cultural alignment with individuals and teams working together to deliver outcomes that make the biggest difference to your organisation and the people that you serve.


  • Cultural Insight Report at any level of detail you require (from organisation, pay grade, team or individual)
  • Detailed conclusions and recommendations for cultural improvements based on clear evidence.

The approach can be integrated into other systems to support: Recruitment and Selection, Probation, Assessment and Development Centres, Appraisal Process, Community Interaction, Coaching, Creating a ‘Tipping Point’ in transformation and culture change (we can identify your salespeople, mavens, and connectors).

And more…

Using this tool is a very affordable way of developing your organisation. Let us come and try it with your management team, and if you like it we can roll it out across your organisation.

Talk to us: 0845 5193 423 / justin.wrench@icecreates.com



Stoptober draws to an end

You made it! A whole month smoke-free and still going from strength to strength. It’s time to give yourself a well-earned pat on the back, andPortrait of a group of business people laughing against white ba not only look back at all of the hard work you have put in, but to look to the future and all of the benefits to continuing your life smoke-free.

Starting now, your lungs begin to repair and with this comes a reduction in risk of infection and a dramatic decrease in coughing and shortness of breath – this will only get easier as the months go by. By the time you have been smoke-free for a year, your risk of heart disease will be 50% less and in five years time, your chance of stroke could be as low as someone who has never smoked.

Looking ahead to 10 years smoke-free, your risk of dying from lung cancer will be half of that of a smoker; your risk of having cancer of the mouth, throat, oesophagus, bladder, kidney and pancreas also decreases.

Can you see what an amazing gift you have given yourself by joining Stoptober, and the thousands of people stopping smoking with Stop4Life and Puffell? You have to keep going and building on the fantastic success you have already enjoyed.

With things getting a bit easier, you may find that smoking is no longer the first thing on your mind when you wake, or it may be that when you feel the urge to smoke, it seems to pass a lot quicker than this time last week. These are signs that the addiction to nicotine is starting to die down and you are well on your way to a smoke-free future.

The 28-day challenge may be over, but you are not alone on your journey to becoming smoke-free. If you have any questions, speak to your stop smoking adviser. It’s proven that you are more successful in achieving outcomes when you share the experience; visit puffell.com and share your experiences, connect with others, and for advice and support throughout your journey.


Sue Pretty, Stop Smoking Adviser, Stop4Life (0800 612 4580 / help@stop4life.co.uk)


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