Agile Nation is a National £12.5million project funded through ESF and Welsh Government. It leads the way in promoting and supporting employed women across Wales to develop and progress their careers, and to help businesses adopt working practices based around the commercial and employee benefits that effective diversity, flexible and remote working strategies and policies can deliver.
Between November 2014 and January 2015 Taith worked with Chwarae Teg (fair play in Welsh) to evaluate the lessons learned within the project in order to inform the next phase of their development. We used an Appreciative Inquiry approach over three phases in order to engage the whole staff team (and some ‘customers’ of the project) in the process.
Roger Rowett, who coordinated the evaluation said ‘this was a wonderful opportunity to work with a really dynamic and creative organisation. They totally embraced AI thinking and used this to drive forwards a programme of continual improvement. They ensured that the AI process involved every single member of staff in a meaningful way‘.
The first phase involved 16 core staff in a one day workshop to familiarise them with Appreciative Inquiry and to undertake the Discovery and Dream stages of the process. The questions were based on discussions with management and use of the ‘three wishes’ question with all participants.
The second phase involved this core group in cascading the questions to all the staff across the organisation’s 4 offices in North and South Wales. A representative cross section of customers were also involved. The result of this was a comprehensive view of what was working well within the project (and why), together with peoples’ aspirations for the future.
The final phase was conducted over the two days of the annual staff conference. Staff were able to reflect on all the messages from the previous phases and to use this to inform the Design and Delivery stages – essentially the action planning.
The inquiry was highly successful with the whole organisation embracing the AI process. A report to funders is now being written and this will also inform the next stage of development for the organisation.