Melanie Burke & Malcolm Elsworth
Co-founders & Directors Electric Putty
"Fairisle helped us to help ourselves"
We have been running our business for over ten years. At the beginning of this year we wanted to change our focus and the way we worked. But we’re experts in digital delivery not business change. We really value our people and we wanted the changes to work well for our close-knit team.
We were torn
As directors, we discussed what to do over and over, without being able to come up with a clear plan. We were torn. We wanted to be bold. But it was important that our people understood the reasons for change and what it meant for them. We kept going over our options and we realised we needed some help. Which is why we got in touch with Sarah at Fairisle. I knew that whoever we turned to had to be really, really good.
At first I thought Fairisle were going to tell us what to do. But what they did was to help us to help ourselves.
Sarah spent time with us to analyse the issues carefully, using intuitive and simple to use tools. We soon developed a much better understanding of the key things to consider in our decision making. Working with Sarah helped us to set the conditions to make our change work for us. Fairisle introduced us to some powerful planning techniques so that we had a strong framework for feeling confident in our decision.
A different way
Without Fairisle, I think we would probably still be feeling we wanted to make changes, but not really succeeding. At one point we considered just forging ahead. Fairisle helped us to find a different way to plan, and to measure our success. I feel really confident about our new direction. Fairisle helped us to examine the situation from all sides, and now we know what we want to do. We’re on the start of a new road.
Dr Shona Campbell
Enterprise at University of Brighton
"We have a stronger, more cohesive team."
I recently took over the Enterprise team at the University of Brighton. We’re here to connect local businesses with experts from the University. This helps local enterprises get access to cutting edge technology and working practices. It’s a powerful combination and we’ve had some real successes in helping business develop and thrive.
Build on success
I was keen to find new ways to really build on this success. But the team was working flat out. We were finding it hard to carve out the time to look at our strategy. It wasn’t clear that everyone was working to the same priorities and so planning our direction was difficult.
Fairisle ‘got’ us
When I spoke to Sarah at Fairisle, I really felt she ‘got’ us and Fairisle quickly came up with a plan to help us. Over a series of interactive sessions, some in person and some online (when Covid struck) the team worked with Fairisle to clarify the issues we were dealing with. We then went on to draw up our Vision and build our plan. Sarah introduced us to effective and agile ways to plan and deliver our vision. This meant we were able to use our tight time resource to best effect in delivering our refreshed strategy. She also showed us how to identify and use the right metrics to track our progress and make informed decisions about the next steps. We now use the agile planning techniques that Fairisle showed us to plan, monitor and deliver our initiatives.
Because the sessions were so interactive (even the online ones) everyone in the team was able to create a joint vision for business engagement. It was also a great way for us to deepen our understanding of each other’s motivations, areas of expertise and points of view. We were already a highly committed team, but the Fairisle process strengthened that commitment. So, as well as a clear achievable set of objectives and an improved planning capability, we also have a stronger, more cohesive team.
The team is excited to take the strategy forward. We have tools and techniques to help us deliver, and a clear idea of our collaborative strength, value, and strategic direction.
Professor Rebecca Lingwood
Brunel University, London
"Resolution to a long-standing unresolved review"
We’ve worked with Fairisle on a number of projects now. The latest piece of work was probably the most challenging. Brunel is a research-intensive university. We are committed to focusing our world-leading research in ways that deliver creative solutions to global challenges and bring economic, social, and cultural benefit. Of course, this doesn’t just happen. A lot of hard work goes on behind the scenes to support our research strategy.
Whilst our research support was effective we knew there was some room for improvement, particularly in bringing the support closer to the point of delivery. We had conducted a detailed review into this issue, but we were finding it difficult to implement the findings.
Fairisle consultants built a detailed understanding of these dynamics. Before long, they had created a clear framework for delivering the required changes. But Fairisle didn’t just take the recommendations and put them into a plan. They went deeper and helped us get a real understanding of the underlying reasons why change had proved difficult. They helped us to create dedicated teams to address each stream of the change plan.
By introducing agile working, Fairisle supported our people to take the lead on delivering the changes in a planned and measured way. They helped us to maintain clarity on our objectives, always supporting us to keep the ‘big picture’ in sight. As circumstances changed (and particularly when Covid happened), Fairisle helped us to come up with practical solutions to ensure we could still make progress towards our goals. They were also good at getting down to the detail of delivery so that we could develop a clear set of new processes and working arrangements.
People really benefited
Our people really benefited from working with Fairisle, especially as agile working naturally brings people from different parts of the organisation together to work towards a common goal. Fairisle introduced our research support teams to a valuable range of tools and techniques to assist them in their change work.
Without the involvement of Fairisle, we would still be ‘stuck’ with our research support strategy, leading to frustration and inefficiencies in delivery. We now have a good resolution to a long-standing unresolved review and research services fit for delivery of the research strategy. Our teams work well together, with new skills and the ability to deliver further improvements. I personally have learnt a lot from Fairisle’s approaches and perspectives.
Vicki Hughes & Tony Felstead
“Thank you for helping us see the future more clearly...”
After seven years in business, we as directors were finding it hard to focus on our future vision for Fugu. We were struggling to translate our aspirations for the business into meaningful action, which was frustrating. This meant we were concerned that we seemed unable to unlock the potential of our business, and of the great people we had recruited. We felt we needed some help, but the last thing we wanted was someone with a fixed worldview or a one-size-fits-all approach to business change. Fairisle was perfect for us ‘wilfully different’ types.
A real understanding
Sarah from Fairisle held an initial discovery session with us. We felt that this meant she had a real understanding of our issues. She developed a programme of structured workshops using Fairisle’s tried and tested techniques. The workshops enabled us to identify blocks to progress and agree on actions to take forward in a clear, planned time frame.
A tailored plan
From the start Fairisle engaged us with active discussion and challenging questions to help us find our own way forward. They never pushed us towards ‘silver bullet’ answers. Instead they tailored a plan for us, which really addressed the issues in our business. This helped us implement a structure for the future organisation of the company, with clear roles and responsibilities.
See the future more clearly
Next, we worked with Fairisle to establish a plan of actions to take forward. This gave us a workable plan and a clear sense of direction and purpose for the future.
Thank you for helping us see the future more clearly and get moving again.