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Author: OllieJohn

We Support Homes for Wales

We’ve teamed up with Royal Society of Architects in Wales and Chatterbox Communication in joint support of the Homes for Wales Campaign.

 

 

 

Creative Quarter

Morgan Arcade

The Hayes

Cardiff

CF10 1AF

Tuesday, March 1st 2016

 

Ahead of the forthcoming Welsh Assembly elections, we would like to add our names to the growing list of businesses supporting Homes for Wales and its campaign for universal affordable housing in Wales.

 

A lack of appropriate housing and welfare cuts are issues we are extremely concerned about, which is why we are calling on the next Welsh Government to clearly set out how it will address the housing crisis as part of the new Programme for Government.

 

Like Homes for Wales, we fundamentally believe that everyone has the right to safe, secure and affordable housing. Yet since 2008, house prices have risen by 16% and, in Wales, 12,000 new homes are needed each year to meet demand. In 2015, 5,070 households were accepted as homeless, whilst 8,596 families have been on the housing waiting list since before the last election. We view such insecurity as unacceptable and believe that the new government has a duty to bring about a sea change in housing conditions.

 

We suggest that collaboration is more important than ever if we are to achieve our vision of cohesive, strong and desirable communities in Wales, with architects, planners, housing associations, service providers, politicians and tenants working efficiently and effectively together. Now is the time to build communities for the next generation, giving families a home to call their own without the need to constantly move and change schools, whilst at the same time providing comfort and security for our older people who have successfully raised their own families and seen them fly the nest.

 

It’s time to work together and end the housing crisis in Wales – will you work with us to achieve this? Please spread the word, speak to your local politicians, and share your housing story on www.homesfor.wales. You can also attend our Homes for Wales rally in Cardiff on Friday 4th March – this is your opportunity to add your voice to the Homes for Wales campaign!

 

Yours faithfully,

 

Locality Solutions, Creative Quarter, Morgan Arcade, Cardiff

Royal Society of Architects in Wales, Creative Quarter, Morgan Arcade, Cardiff

Chatterbox Communications, Welsh ICE, Caerphilly

 

PRESS RELEASE

Our Commitments

The UN Global Goals program aims to achieve three things by 2030 – end poverty, combat climate change and fight injustice and inequality, in order to achieve sustainable development. To achieve this, united nations must follow a set of sustainable development goals (SDGs) which are a universal set of goals, targets and indicators that frame their agendas and political policies over the next 15 years.

 

Our Commitments                                                                

The goals cover a vast range of subjects including sustainable cities and communities which aims to make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable. As a result, in the planning and designing of new communities and housing projects planners both private and public need to give explicit consideration to the kind of world that is being created for the children who will be growing up in these settings. One target in particular which will help achieve this is ensuring access for all to adequate, safe and affordable housing and basic services and upgrade slums.

 

In addition, the goals encourage peace, justice and strong institutions. They promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels. Some of the targets set in place to achieve this are; significantly reduce all forms of violence and related death rates everywhere, end abuse, exploitation and trafficking and promote the rule of law at the national and international levels, ensuring equal access and justice for all.

 

Locality Solutions is committed to achieving these goals and they set out to accomplish safer and more cohesive communities through strengthening institutions, ultimately creating a more peaceful living environment.

 

For more information on Global Goals.

ACCESS

We’re re-posting a blog into the work of UNHCR Innovation. Here Lauren Parater identifies essential resources for a design thinker.

 

Original Article by Lauren Parater, Associate Innovation Engagement Officer, UNHCR Innovation

 

7 essential resources for a design thinker

 

I’m not the average person who would be interested in purchasing the newest edition of the Harvard Business Review but walking around the airport in September, the newest addition caught my eye. The title of the September 2015 issue was The Evolution of Design Thinking and immediately I was intrigued and branded it my flight reading material. As an advocate for the use of design thinking principles, I was impressed to see such a human-centred approach being highlighted in Harvard’s corporate public fora.

 

Design thinking at its core is about empathy with users, a discipline in prototyping, and a tolerance of failure. This approach has been championed by those focusing on product design, but in more recent years this approach has been adapted to everything from corporate consulting to how governments interact with citizens and how we deliver humanitarian aid. There has been an undeniable shift and it’s hard to ignore the benefits of incorporating design thinking into our process. And no I’m not just saying this because the Harvard Business Review is now behind the idea. We’ve witnessed how these tools can transform the user experience and can create successful models to examine complex problems.

 

You’ll see on the front page of this website the quote “UNHCR Innovation partners with people inside and outside of UNHCR to innovate with and for refugees.”  That second with is very important and at the core of our mission to keep our end users (refugee and displaced communities) at the centre of the design process.

 

Evidently, design thinking is here to stay. It has the potential to grow past an approach associated just with products and (now) corporate strategies. If incorporating these principles into the humanitarian sector is as successful as we hope, design thinking will transform into a powerful tool for social good.

 

For those of you unfamiliar with the approach, I’ve rounded up seven essential resources for anyone interested in becoming a design thinker.

 

A virtual crash course in design thinking in 90 minutes

Instead of binge-watching your new favourite show, why don’t you take a 90 minute deep dive into the innovation process? This virtual crash course uses videos, handouts, and facilitation tips to take you step-by-step through the process of hosting or participating in a design challenge.

 

The crash course is a product of Stanford’s D-School and you don’t need any previous design experience to enrol in the virtual crash course. After 90 minutes, you’re expected to take away a basic understanding of the principles of design thinking and start to adapt them into your personal and professional routines.

 

I’m not the creative type: You can prototype anything

People are sometimes confused about prototyping and the innovation process. This short zine was created by a few designers in New York to help explain the nuances of the prototyping process in a way that is interesting and useful. The first addition of I’m not the creative type is a space for those unfamiliar with the prototyping process to let loose and better understand how you can really prototype anything.

 

Please continue to full article where Lauren identifies 5 further essential resources for a design thinker including several toolkits that have already been utilised for transformative design, enhancing the lives of millions.

 

FULL ARTICLE

 

Last week I found myself navigating through a conference exhibition hall, comparing stands and displays of others and wondering whether we’d done enough to make our visual display effective in drawing people to us; or whether we’d fade into the background or worse still encourage people to look at the ground as they scurried passed.

 

In truth, this was only one of the considerations that I had for the success of the conference, whilst the stand is crucial you can do so much more in terms of being a ‘voice’ at a conference. Within this there are methods to draw people to your message. I guess its very much a matter of marrying it all up against the audience. 

 

Know your audience.

On telling my brother where I would be for the few days, I had the following rather surprising and vivid statement.  

 

‘It’ll be full of men dressed across the spectrum of grey with the personality of deep beige!’

 

Needless to say, this didn’t form the basis of our customer persona mapping and it’s not an opinion I agree with but it did make me chuckle, conjures up quite an image. Anyway, first point reiterated, ‘know your audience!

 

In this case an audience of buyers, who have strong opinions of what they want. Refreshingly some strong and purposeful views were shown at the panel debates and there was the impression that the conference was attended by those keen to exchange views and best practice as opposed to those conferences where people appeared to have been sent against ‘their will’ by line management (we’ve all attended those) … You can usually spot the tactical individuals that are only too happy to request literature as a proof of attendance but they also love a free pen!

 

Be Social.

Following social media timelines in the run up and during exhibition viewings can give you just a little bit of a headache . The endless calls to ‘Come & Visit us at Stand blah blah and we’ll show you blah blah blah. Perhaps a necessary evil? But engaging with the conference on social media can be INCREDIBLY effective, so how can you stand out from the crowd without being too ‘gimmicky’ or ‘needy’, my message …

 

‘Be Bold, Balanced in Message, Unique in Approach’

 

#meetpoco

dress2dress1

 

 

Armed with a 6 foot teddy bear and a ‘hashtag’, we went about ‘breaking the internet’, or in this case encouraging delegates, speakers and other exhibitors to #meetpoco. Perhaps all that was missing was dressing our furry chum in an outfit that some thought blue and other gold.

 

 

In truth its a balancing act; on one hand you are trying to showcase case management software that is central to tackling ASB and domestic abuse on the other you’re encouraging delegates to give your teddy bear a Big ‘Ol hug. Never has the phrase ‘Know your audience’ seemed more appropriate.

 

But, we had tremendous uptake and we made sure that we turned that ‘opening’ into some purposeful and ‘human’ conversation about our product and the conference.

 

Unfortunately, This interest led us to an inevitable one upmanship of Bear puns, which culminated in the rather embarrassing exclamation that I didn’t have the Koalafications. Well this was one step too far, and lets be honest not wholly accurate, for Poco is clearly not a Koala. Sometimes caution is best practised and wisely those ‘puns’ stayed on the cutting room floor.

 

Buy into the conference.

So in our case the friendly folk at NHF were only too pleased to issue Poco with his official delegate badge. 

We also took time to talk about the conference with delegates, attend panels debates and contribute to sessions through social media. In order to be credible suppliers you need to have passion and knowledge of the sectors you’re working in, why wouldn’t you contribute!

 

 

Make friends with your neighbours.

They are going to be as busy as you are — but they may be your very best accomplices. This is not entirely a selfless act of friendship. You may well have a spare power cable to lend or a spare bit of adhesive tape, and so may they!

But let them know also about what you do and find out what their business is. You will want other non-competing exhibitors to refer visitors to your stand when appropriate, just as you will want to refer others to theirs.

 

Don’t pounce.

Some visitors will know exactly what they are looking for, and if you don’t frighten them away, they will tell you in their own good time. Many more may not know what they were looking for, at least, not until you have told them what you have to offer! But even so, please don’t pounce on them?

Engage in eye-contact with all you can and smile; be human.

 

Stand display, again.

You will have your own ideas about what works best for you and what doesn’t. You can also learn much from other exhibitors, good and bad.

But here are some initial thoughts that apply universally:

 

  • Avoid clutter! (That includes half-drunk cups of coffee!)
  • Know your product — be an expert on what you specialise in and what you offer.
  • Avoid having too much on display, it can serve to confuse;
  • Well lit displays are really important — don’t forget, you are after your visitors’ ‘eye-share’ first!;
  • ‘Make it Clear what you do!’ don’t let visitors guess what your business is all about;
  • Avoid a mish-mash of odd assortments thrown together, think it through thoroughly.

 

Be human, we’re all unique.

 

 

conference   

 

Please let us know if you have any other tried and tested methods or ideas that you haven’t dared yet to try,

failing that why not send us some bear puns

What does Mobile Workforce really mean?

 

The simplest definition proposes that a mobile workforce is a

‘group of employees operating from a variety of locations, connected by computers, smartphones and other devices via the Internet.’

 

Indeed, Mobile workers are increasingly becoming the norm thanks to technological improvement and increased connectivity. This constant advancement in technology has not only made mobile devices powerful business tools, but has enabled workforces to conduct business around the clock, regardless of time or geographical location.

 

Today’s mobile workers are using such applications as business intelligence, analytics, remote collaboration and social media on their mobile devices. A plethora of cloud based services exist to support the mobile workforce. Various dashboards and software products help professionals collaborate, managers to monitor workflow, delegate work amongst team members or external contractors, and lead a mobile workforce that’s not centralised in a traditional office.

 

The popularity of cloud services are just one indicator to show that the mobile workforce is due to become the norm. As both software and hardware evolve, the information technology industry is becoming more capable of helping companies to outsource more diverse tasks, both anywhere and everywhere.

 

Benefits of a Mobile Workforce

The benefits here lie both with the user and the organisation.

 

  • Regulate a better work / Life balance                           
  • Increased productivity
  • Increased customer service
  • More workflow flexibility

 

Needs of the Mobile Workforce

 

  • Flexible work schedules   none
  • Ability to use mobile devices
  • Modern, Secure remote access solutions

 

Steps to Enable a Mobile Workforce

 

Here are some steps organisations should consider when planning and developing an effective mobile workforce:

 

  • Make mobility the heart of your interaction model. Keep in mind that there are two important types of interactions for organizations: employee empowerment and customer engagement. In both cases, the goal should be to provide universal access to people, applications and data.

 

  • Establish clear, attainable business goals and measurable outcomes for enterprise mobility. It’s not enough to say that every salesperson in your organisation requires remote access to your customer relationship management applications. Your business goals for mobility need to be specific and quantifiable—for example, increase sales of add-on products by a certain percentage.

 

  • Commit to a strategy of application modernisation. Developing, integrating and operating new mobile applications can motivate your workforce and enable significant increases in productivity. But you probably won’t realise the full benefit unless your IT organisation modernises its portfolio of business applications to make it easier, more reliable and less expensive to manage on a day-to-day basis.

 

  • Realise that security and compliance are critical business issues. Business leaders should be collaborating with IT organizations to develop security best practices for an increasingly mobile workforce. Failure to do so could result in service interruptions, threats to customer privacy and also data loss. Keep in mind that widespread compliance and legal issues come into play when mobile workforces fail to take proper safeguards.

 

mobile workforce

 

 

We decided to combine some of our favourite things; digital marketing, coffee, talking (often talking about coffee, sometimes technology) and blogging (and now blogging about coffee, sometimes technology). This mornings lucky duo; Karen and Ollie our product and brand marketing duo.

 

 

Destination

What better place to start than Uncommon Ground Coffee Roastery, a panini’s throw from our window, situated in the Royal Arcade in Cardiff. 

Described as an ‘independent gourmet coffee bar in Cardiff, we are genuinely passionate about roasting and serving great fresh coffee.’ … the verdict, they are and they do! Have a look at the rather snazzy virtual tour.

 

Screenshot_8

 

 

Digital Marketing in 2016

 

As its the beginning of the year, it seemed an appropriate time. So, What are some of the challenges that brands will face? On this occasion we steered clear of having a crystal ball on the table. Several key messages and consensus emerged with much discussion around use of video within digital marketing, let us know your thoughts!

 

  • A shift in focus was identified as essential, a need to curtail the tactics of lazy communication so many marketers have fallen back upon and start bringing in-person social skills to the digital world!

 

“Drummed into my head and my rationale behind so much of my personal marketing activity is the absolute essential of customer trust.”

 

  • The customer brand relationship has been discussed at length, and accordingly 2016 will be a big year for ad-blocker. The cry that’s let’s get rid of the traditional noise! Proof we can’t be as lazy as we’ve been before, customers demand more. Ad Blockers topped the appstore a day after ios9’s release!

 

  • The need for marketers to produce more content with fewer resources. The approach must be a focus on creating high quality content experiences at every customer interaction without breaking the bank. Personalisation and segmentation are key here, email campaigns for example need to be more personalised and catered to actual individuals.

 

“My belief is that 2016 will be a big year of learning for brands. They’ll finally start to streamline their process, select the right influencers, execute campaigns, and get the most bang for their buck.”

 

  • Social platforms as well need to develop to allow publishers, brands, consumers to navigate content in a meaningful way. Ever present importance of content distribution and new methods to integrate. These are not new instances but still crucial ‘how will publishers fair with Facebook’s instant articles?’

 

“Brave and Bold content is essential!”

 

  • Visual playing such a vital role in all forms of content creation, the further development of live streaming services, there emergence offers a more personalised customer experience…what our customers demand.

 

  • The development of effective live streaming integration (periscope/meerkat/blab) ‘live reporting’ but specifically how this appears in social media timelines. This development gives the opportunity to put a human face to the brand, mapping out a buyer persona’s, so many advantages for marketers.

 

  • Distribution of mobile and social-ready video is a competitive area for everyone but within this lies the challenge. How much of your budget do you allow for distribution and how much on video production*

 

“Video is a representation of you so make interesting and engaging content that speaks to the people you are trying to sell to”

 

——

 

Suggested Reading

Have a read of ‘Video Content : You’re Doing it Wrong‘ by Gary Vaynerchuck this will tell you all you need to know on how so many focus on distribution over video production. A year old article, still completely relevant, its still a mistake made by so many.

 

 

Creating compelling and engaging design is crucial to a brand. We utilise the services of Jessica Morgan to help realise the Locality message.

 

Jess is part of the team at Jessica Draws Media and recently sat down with the folks at Business Wales to give her top tips on running a Small Business, all from our lovely Creative Quarter offices. Jess explains how she got started, how she generates clients and markets the business, some great insight!

 

“It was such a great experience and I hope it helps anyone looking to start their own business.”

 

 

 

Further Information

 

Jessica Draws is an experienced designer and illustrator who recently took home a runner up trophy in the Creative Industries category at the Entrepreneur Wales Awards and nominated for Freelancer of the year at the 2016 Regional Awards.

Jess started out as a surface pattern designer for a major greetings card company. She has also worked as a mobile app and web designer, and as part of the Advocate Art agency. Jess has since gone on to establish her position as the go-to designer for some of Wales’s most successful businesses as well as global brands, charities and organisations.

One of Wales’ largest housing associations is tackling anti-social behaviour, hate crime and domestic violence with an unlikely weapon – smart technology!

 

RCT Homes’ anti-social behaviour case management has been transformed, thanks to mobile technology from a fresh, young company. The innovative software from Locality Solutions has led to a seamless service that has hugely improved satisfaction among customers and staff, saving more than 1,000 hours every year in admin and successfully resolving 98.4% of anti-social behaviour cases – more than any other housing organisation in Wales.

 

Download the full release

 

Faced with the challenge of combining increased mobile working with security and efficiency, RCT Homes was struggling to establish a defined process for tackling anti-social behaviour with its existing housing management system. Data was duplicated and sometimes lost, staff were unable to access key information when away from the office and security needed tightening up. But Locality’s solution has had such an impact on the way community staff respond to cases of ASB and domestic violence that RCT Homes is now looking at how best to implement the system in other key service areas of its business.

 

Cardiff-based Locality Solutions is fast establishing a reputation as the go-to provider for cloud-based solutions in areas such as case management and has recently expanded, taking on new staff and moving into a new work space in the city’s vibrant Creative Quarter. RCT Homes, which had spent several months researching strong, innovative and future proof software, liked the firm’s collaborative approach and asked Locality to build a system capable of managing its caseload whilst freeing up resources and maintaining efficiency.

 

So Locality created a tailored case management system that integrated with, rather than replaced, RCT Homes’ existing applications. Data from multiple sources was migrated to the new platform, improving communication channels and reducing administration time by 1,167 hours. Staff receive alerts about tenants who may be vulnerable to incidents of hate crime, ASB and domestic violence, enabling them to respond more quickly response and improving results to the extent that other community partners are now interested in using Locality’s technology.

 

RCT Homes acting chief executive Adrian Barber said:

“The challenge for us was finding a way of reducing our overheads and obtaining value for money whilst continuing to focus on delivery and provide a quality service to the community.

“We chose a relative newcomer on the block when we selected Locality Solutions and they have not disappointed. They had a very refreshing way of working and we liked the collaborative approach, rather than simply being offered a ‘one size fits all’ solution. From start to finish – which included a major transformation at RCT Homes – Locality have been professional and adapted quickly where required. Not only would I recommend Locality to our partners, we are already exploring adopting this innovative software elsewhere within the business.”

 

Locality Solutions founder and managing director Adrian Leen said:

“Our aim is to show that real change can be made within communities with a little forward thinking and the right technology. We now hope to create a culture of collaboration that will also benefit other housing associations and partner agencies.”

 

Additional Information on ‘Smart Technology’

 

For more information or further images, please call Rebecca Lees on 07950 060613 or email rebecca@rebeccalees.co.uk

 

Additionally, have a look at our full case study of the RCT Homes ASB Case Management Solution.

Do you think we can help you? We’d love to hear from you, just get in touch.

The Business Centre, Cardiff House, Cardiff Road, CF63 2AW

p. 0330 0015307 | e. enquiries@localitysolutions.co.uk

Company no: 07778046 | VAT Reg No: GB 195 5405 84