We’re so proud to be able to share our Karen’s story with all of our followers and friends.

As many of you know, IntraQuest was born out of difficult but inspiring personal journeys. One of these journeys is our Karen’s. Part of the IntraQuest approach was inspired by what worked for Karen when she was in crisis, and what has since worked for so many of our own clients and service users.

In making this short film, special thanks go to Bearded Fellows, our incredible animators, Viaduct Video for archive training footage and Gerard Gudgion and Antony Oxley for photography and sound.

Extra special thanks go to Karen for her bravery in sharing her story. We hope it inspires you!


After months of hard work, we are so thrilled to be able to share with you at last that our Award-winning learning programme, ‘Tackling Engagement’ will be launching online in January 2019!
Now Public Service businesses can provide our proven method of successfully engaging with ANYONE to all their staff via their Learning Management Systems, accessible from any web-enabled device, anytime, anywhere!
The programme contains over 60 ‘bite-sized’ learning assets – and we mean ‘bite-sized’, with each asset taking no more than around 10 minutes to complete. There’s short video tutorials, exercises and games, as well as great downloadable tools that learners can use time and time again and links to latest research and articles. But that’s not the best bit!
Because we know that people struggle to find the time to learn and develop, we’ve teamed up with a fantastic Learning Tech partner called Filtered. Filtered have created a revolutionary new intelligent engine called Magpie. By answering a few simple questions from Magpie, learners will be given a tailored recommendation for their specific need. They can follow the recommendation there and then, or save it to their own dashboard for later, putting quick, impactful, tailored learning right at learners’ fingertips.
If you weren’t already aware, many Local Authorities have already commissioned ‘Tackling Engagement’ for their frontline Public Service workers and leadership teams, and it’s seen dramatic results such as:

  • Workers solving twice as many issues as nearest comparable boroughs;
  • Happier workers and service users;
  • Service users themselves reporting greater control and independence;
  • Reduction in crime rates;
  • Reduced demand on services by an average of 35% – and as much as 70% for some!
  • In fact, one Borough identified that they had seen fiscal benefits of over £8m in a year as a result of their people working differently with service users!

But up until now, it’s only been available via ‘Face to Face’ workshops. So why not add our impactful suite of online learning to your development offering and allow your people to access this proven, highly impactful and relevant learning content to achieve some (if not all) of the great results above.
PLUS we’re offering special ‘Early Bird’ rates for pre-orders of over 100 annual licences, with up to 70% off compared to Individual Membership and up to a whopping 92% off compared to workshop rates!
To find out more, or to get your tailored quote, please contact us with your enquiry and the number of licences/users you would like to have access and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can.
But hurry – Early Bird rates end 31st October 2018!
Team IntraQuest

Be the first to hear our BIG news!
 
Join us on Facebook on 4th October at 3.30pm for our LIVE launch – don’t miss it! www.facebook.com/IntraQuestUK, follow us, add THIS EVENT to your calendar, and we hope to see you there!
 
Team IntraQuest

After months of hard work, IntraQuest have a VERY special announcement to make in the next two weeks. Keep an eye on your Inbox, this blog, LinkedIn, @IntraQuest and www.facebook.com/IntraQuestUK to be one of the first to find out!

Here’s a hint… our Award-winning learning could be closer than you think!
Team IntraQuest

We’re so proud to be able to share our Karen’s story with all of our followers and friends.
As many of you know, IntraQuest was born out of difficult but inspiring personal journeys. One of these journeys is our Karen’s. Part of the IntraQuest approach was inspired by what worked for Karen when she was in crisis, and what has since worked for so many of our own clients and service users.

In making this short film, special thanks go to Bearded Fellows, our incredible animators, Viaduct Video for archive training footage and Gerard Gudgion and Antony Oxley for photography and sound.
Extra special thanks go to Karen for her bravery in sharing her story. We hope it inspires you!

We live in an ever-changing world. So much of what is happening around us is more fluid than ever. This makes it increasingly more difficult to respond, and more importantly, be pro-active. Forecasting based on historic data is becoming less and less reliable – circumstances are constantly changing based on technology, trends, fashion, media influence…the same challenge today could be driven by something completely different than a year ago, and the same factors a year ago create very different challenges today.
One thing that hasn’t changed very much in our culture is how we deal with problems. It’s safe to say that the best way to handle the challenges that life throws at us is to take all the necessary steps and precautions to ensure problems don’t arise, but if they do at times, do the best we can to handle them. However, when what causes issues is ever changing, it can be really difficult to know what steps to take to avoid problems. The danger here is that unforeseen challenges arise and we end up having to be great at crisis management, but ensure that we reflect heavily on how that crisis came about in order to put in preventative measures for the future.
So what happens when we’re stuck in a culture of crisis management, constantly fire-fighting and solving problems with no time to reflect or implement those cautionary steps for the future? It can feel like a vicious circle – a revolving door that just won’t stop spinning. What if we could change to a culture of crisis avoidance? What would be the benefit?

IntraQuest are all too familiar with this concept. As a learning and well-being services company, it’s safe to say that in most cases the phone only rings when there’s a crisis. We generally become engaged in issues when they’ve become so challenging that specialist support is needed. This is when we intervene with different capability for professionals, new approaches, therapeutic interventions and community support. We’ve built our business on responding to people in crisis, but the golden egg for us would be to AVOID crisis if possible. Crisis is a lot more difficult to manage, takes up much more time, resources and energy, and in many cases it’s the symptom of that crisis that ends up being managed, because of safeguarding, risks to individuals or the public – so much time is spent managing the crisis that there is no time to reflect upon the root cause.
We can’t help but wonder…if our learning and well-being services were employed BEFORE crisis hit, would crisis hit at all? Surely prevention is better than cure, especially when that cure only treats the symptom, rather than the cause? And we can’t get away from the fact that crisis is damaging – yes, the damage in a lot of cases can be fixed, but if the damage could be AVOIDED, isn’t that a better state of affairs?
Over the last four years, IntraQuest have been working with Early Help and Prevention teams all over Greater Manchester, and the results have been astounding. Not only have these teams built much better relationships with residents, they have seen a demonstrable increase in self-awareness and decrease in problematic behaviours. Essentially, they have prevented problematic behaviour from escalating, and in many cases, stopped it altogether – crisis avoided! All of this is down to our unique approach – empathically seeking to understand the cause and positive function of problematic behaviour, in order to propose the right long-term solutions for individuals.
Evidence (and several national awards) has told us that this approach is a force to be reckoned with. If you’re part of an Early Intervention or Prevention team, or any response team for that matter, you ae bound to benefit from our learning solutions. We provide practical tools and techniques for building trusted, credible relationships with clients, that will help you understand the honest, positive function that their problematic behaviours serve for them. Only then can you explore solutions that will work for both your service AND your client. And that’s crisis avoidance!
Want to know more? Get in touch with us!

A few years back, the Government introduced the concept of Psychologically Informed Environments – or PIEs – as a critical factor affecting housing and homelessness in the UK. The concept was simple: how does the psychology of homeless people affect their plight? It acknowledged, perhaps for the first time, that homelessness isn’t simply a ‘state of being’, but perhaps a ‘state of mind’. Homelessness might well be the outcome or behaviour of deeper issues – merely a symptom of an unknown root cause. It also explored an incredibly worrying thought: maybe the resolution is about more than putting a roof over a person’s head?

IntraQuest have felt incredibly validated by this notion. As a team of people who have spent time on both sides of the fence – both homeless and responsible for housing – we’ve known for a long time that homelessness is far more than just a ‘state of being’. Our research and our work with countless professionals has only served to strengthen this resolve. In many cases, homelessness is an extreme symptom of relationship issues, and like most problematic behaviours, the key is to understand the positive function that living without housing serves to individuals. If we can work to the general assumption that any behaviour, problematic or otherwise, serves a purpose to the person, whether we agree with it or not, we are likely to get closer to the truth.

It’s All About Connection!

Consider if you will the challenge of the Housing Officer. Their role, perhaps even their vocation, is to help reduce the plight of the homeless, put a roof over people’s heads and give them the security that we assume they so desperately need. So they work tirelessly with their clients, helping them to find appropriate housing, whether that be a flat, house, shelter or hostel, and help them to manage the responsibility of that roof through work and finances. These teams work so hard, like so many frontline professionals, usually with the aim of helping people make positive improvements to their lives. Imagine how frustrating it is to work so hard to help someone, only to find that they end up back on the streets?
Why does this happen? The answer is simpler that the solution. Isolation, to the human being, is like death. We crave connection to SOMETHING – whether that be other people, environments, relationships, interests, pets…the list goes on, but the aim is the same – connection. Here’s an interesting thought to explore – where does the homeless person feel more ‘connected’? In a flat, on their own, with many new responsibilities that they have never understood or felt the benefit of before? Or on the street, perhaps with other homeless people, amongst many other people (even if it is just their legs walking by), living a life that, although may be tough, they have learned to survive? Even the connection they have with their housing officer has come to an end – it has to – so, what or who are they connected to now?
There was a brief interview on the radio recently, with a homeless man discussing his plight. He was homeless as a result of a breakdown in his relationship with his parents. Listening to him, he expressed a desire to have his own space, a sanctuary that was his and his alone. This particular individual may be relatively easy to deal with, as he ultimately WANTS a home. The point to focus in on here was that he had a home, but the relationship – the ‘connection’ – with his parents was so damaged that he fled the perceived ‘security’ of a roof over his head. The lack of meaningful connection made that roof insecure. This tells us that homelessness is about so much more than simply a roof – it’s the meaningful connection an individual has to everyone and everything that is underneath that roof.

The Psychology of Homelessness

Surprisingly, the psychology of homelessness is no different to the psychology of anyone. If we stick with the assumption that homelessness is an outcome, rather than a root cause, surly there’s more work to do? Seeking to understand WHY that person is homeless is key to proposing the right solutions and ongoing support in the future. It’s also a safe assumption about anyone that past experiences, thoughts and feelings absolutely affect our behaviour. So, if we consider homelessness a ‘behaviour’ rather than a cause, surely we need to do more to understand what led to this outcome? This is where PIEs come in. Understanding the psychology behind each individual’s plights can give clues as to why this outcome has arisen – but most importantly, it can help practitioners propose solutions that are sustainable in the long term.
No-One Left Out Solutions Ltd created a report that breaks a PIE down into 5 key elements. Operating consistently within these elements is key to assisting long-term positive outcomes and behavioural change.

  • Relationships – no surprise here! Connection is the key to sustainability. Understanding the positive function that homelessness serves to an individual will allow us to propose solutions that maintain those same connections, but with a different outcome. Connecting individuals to other services or communities can also assist sustainability if the solution is right for the individual. Managing expectations within relationships is also a critical factor.
  • Staff Training & Support – housing officers and organisations require knowledge and skills to accurately assess the psychology behind their clients plight. This is about building trust and credibility with clients in order to seek the truth behind their homelessness, and the root cause behind the behaviour. Some simple, quick counselling and therapeutic techniques employed by housing officers can make all the difference here, and will allow staff to understand the root cause of the problem, and more accurately propose successful solutions.
  • Physical Environment – understanding the psychology behind the outcome is key to understanding what will and won’t work for your client in terms of physical environment. For example, an individual with a deep-rooted fear of responsibility may benefit more from a hostel or shelter initially, rather than their own place. Whether the physical environment is conducive to their psychological health is also a key factor.
  • Psychological Framework – if we’re going to apply psychology to practise, we need a method! And this method needs to be embedded throughout ALL practise, from early intervention, through to assessment, outcomes and sustainability. The framework becomes a common language amongst associations, and informs all aspects of delivery.
  • Evidence Generating Practise – this is a critical factor. Both the association and the client need to be able to clearly assess and evaluate success, and ‘state of mind’ becomes as important to measure as ‘state of being’ already is.

PIE Culture – Myth or Magic?

There is no ‘quick fix’ PIE injection at present – housing organisations will need to work hard to embed PIEs into their culture. Processes, assessment, support functions, capability and solutions all require the PIE treatment, otherwise the mentality is at risk of not sticking. Fortunately, IntraQuest have a solution that will solve a big part of this problem. Our learning framework, created around the 5 key elements of PIE, will provide staff with the psychological framework, knowledge, skills, tools and techniques required to operate a true PIE service. We can even offer consultancy and support on internal practises, such as assessment forms and processes, to ensure that they align to the PIE service being offered. We have worked with many housing associations in the past who have all testified to the power of our method, and we’re excited about offering our award-winning capability programmes now aligned to creating successful PIE cultures. If you would like to know more, please get in touch with us. IntraQuest have proven the significantly positive impact that the therapeutic approach has as a restorative practise – let us help you create better outcomes and a culture of independence amongst your service users.
If you’re a Housing Trust, non-profit or charity, we may be able to provide you with fully or part-funded learning solutions. Complete our short survey here to find out if we can help you!

L-R – Host Claudia Winkleman, IntraQuest winners Jen Westwood and Neil Lewis, Award Sponsor Vinit Patel from Filtered.

Representing the highest achieving individuals and organisations in the field of learning and development, the 2017 Learning Awards was held on the 2nd February by the Learning and Performance Institute. The 14 awards categories received hundreds of entries from around the globe, and included submissions from many of the world’s leading brands, alongside first-time submissions from emerging providers. Every shortlisted finalist has demonstrated exceptional performance and contribution to the learning profession.

What the LPI had to say about us!

IntraQuest are thrilled to have been awarded the Gold prize for ‘Start-up Learning Provider of the Year’. This award commends new learning businesses for innovation and business impact. Based on our powerful, experiential learning and the great results seen by our customers, the judges deemed us fit to receive first prize, beating 5 other prominent finalists from around the globe.


Neil & Jen’s Interview!

We couldn’t have achieved this without the help of so many people – our fantastic customers and delegates, the support from our families and friends, and most of all, the hard work and dedication of our team. We’re so proud and grateful, and are excited for the growth our business sees in the future. It’s a labour of love and passion for all of us, so this recognition means so much. Thanks to the LPI and everyone who’s been a part of our journey!
 
Team IntraQuest
 

Absolutely thrilled to announce that IntraQuest Training and Oldham Metropolitan Borough Council, after being short-listed at the Training Journal Awards 2016, took home the Silver prize for ‘Best Public Sector Training Program’!
One of our most popular products, ‘Tackling Engagement’ took home the second prize for achievement based on the outstanding results seen within Oldham Council and beyond. The programme was a collaboration between IntraQuest and OMBC, and has since gone on to be delivered across Greater Manchester and the North of England.

Jenny and Karen are pictured here with Gerard Gudgion, our key commissioner from Oldham (and, can we just say, a living legend!) and Kate Garraway, who hosted the ceremony.
Massive thanks to OMBC, all of our incredible delegates and of course, the judges and organisers of the Training Journal Awards – what a fantastic event!

By Neil Lewis

20 years ago, as the age of the internet began to dawn, the human race was on the verge of a new renaissance. The world had begun to embrace new methods of communication. Mobile data and telephony was taking off, and schools and colleges were including information technology and computer studies as part of curriculums all over the world. But cynics and sceptics out there still questioned the validity of these advances. The need was still unclear, the benefit not yet realised, and the true potential of technological advancement was a mystery. Accessibility was limited, cost was high and content was sparse. The brightest minds of the time were appealing to the masses to take a chance – after all, there was no business bible or manual for creating a successful information super-highway – it had never been done before.

Cut to 20 years later. The number of communication methods now is countless. In the UK alone, there are more active mobile communication devices than people. Cable and satellite television, considered by many to be a luxury item several years ago, is now commonplace, and digital media has enabled a multitude of channels and broadcasting that is available at the user’s desire. Even the traditional games console now uses the web to connect players from all over the world. What an age we live in, indeed. Technology has birthed a new world order of machines that have removed the need for books, libraries, shops and retail, even the board game.

What is perhaps most interesting about this is how it all came about. Technology was advancing, no doubt, but what about the minds that leveraged this to create the world we know today? How did they come up with these solutions? When we hear from the brightest minds of the last decade, the answer is usually the same. These innovations were spawned out of boredom. Whether it be messing about in a garage in California, or a late night in a university dorm room, some of the greatest innovations of our time have come about through boredom and people having too much time on their hands – a true argument towards giving one the time and space to design, create and innovate.

Never has a civilisation been so rich with knowledge and information. The pub quiz is dead.’ To wonder’ has been replaced as a verb with ‘to Google’. We have gone from being a society seeking answers to being a society that longs to find an unanswered question. The millennial version of this, the ‘Googlewhack’, is nigh on impossible – proof positive that the internet has indeed become the greatest advancement in human civilisation since the wheel. The challenge now, in fact, is to live a life independent of technology. But when the UN are in debate around internet access now being a basic human right, have things changed indefinitely?

Whilst technology has undoubtedly improved the world we live in, what effect has it had on the people? The average individual has at least 2 email accounts, at least 2 contact telephone numbers and at least one social network account. There are many people in the West and emerging markets that have twice this. With so many streams of communication, and so many more people keeping in touch with us, it is becoming increasingly more difficult to manage the sheer volume of conversations that are taking place every second. And what effect does this have on children? ADHD diagnosis is on the rise. Schools have to find more ingenious ways of helping pupils to learn whilst fighting boredom. The vast array of devices, activities, games and information available means that we are at constant risk of over-stimulating children and adults to the point where they are physically incapable of holding their attention to any one thing for anything more than a matter of minutes. Children today are completely at ease operating multiple electronic devices at the same time, but with so much choice available, and little incentive to focus on any one task or activity, are we turning ‘Millennials’ into ‘Attention-deficiles’? One of the single greatest challenges that over-stimulation can cause is the erosion of the human ability to focus. This ability is what enables us to reason – to take a mine of information and decipher it, and to take into consideration all the variables – the ‘greys’. But when the information keeps on coming, how can one ever truly focus?

The mind is taking in so much more than ever before. Phone calls, emails, texts, people, questions, information, diaries, arrangements – it all becomes a jumbled mess in our minds, and we have to work so much harder to order our thoughts. It’s inevitable that these thoughts interfere with each other, or we deal with them in a sub-par way just to get them out of our minds. The more we take in, the more stressed we get, and the more questionable our judgement becomes. Focussed concentration, thought-ordering and even innovation was less of a problem 30 years ago because the world in which we lived was very different. It’s about going back to basics. The key is simple – data deprivation.

What if, for just a few minutes a day, we cut off all of these devices? What if we were un-contactable? What if we allowed ourselves to just ‘be’? The ability to focus is the single greatest commodity when making decisions. With so much information, so many conversations, so many thoughts and challenges all filling the mind at once, do we have the time or attention to make informed, stress-free decisions? The solution is to take steps to limit the amount of information we take in – to give our minds the chance to focus and order what is already there before adding more to it.

It’s natural to be resistant to this – after all, accessibility has become so habitual that it’s impossible to imagine life without it. But if I were to say to you that completely clearing your mind of all thoughts, decisions and distractions for 20 minutes every day would increase your capability to focus, would you do it? If I told you that giving your mind a brief respite every day would not only help you manage your stress levels, but actually make you less stressed, would you be interested? If I explained that taking a few minutes to clear your mind completely before attempting a challenging task or attending a meeting would actually improve your performance, would that help? And if I said that improving your ability to focus when necessary will ensure that you make better decisions in all aspects of your life, is that desirable? It’s easy to focus on the perils of not checking your phone, email or Wikipedia for a period of time, but if you consider instead the benefits, you may be more inclined. And like any habit, it will be difficult to change at first, but absolutely worth it.

Today’s brightest minds are already exploring the benefits of what is now known commonly as ‘mindfulness’. They appreciate how giving themselves the time to be more mindful, especially when incredibly busy or in high demand, is essential to remaining on top of their game. When not being mindful, adrenaline takes over. This impacts not only the decisions we make, but our demeanour and behaviour. This is critical to leaders, as erratic, stressed behaviour damages credibility. Couple that with questionable decisions made under duress, and there are some fundamental flaws in the leader. The best leaders are the ones that can remain calm and objective in the face of demanding work pressures, and the best innovators are the ones that give themselves the creative advantage of thought and time. Mindfulness and data deprivation allows the mind to unclog and relax, so that when a decision or solution is needed, it can be formulated free from many other distractions and inhibiting thoughts.

There are many ways to be more mindful – data deprivation being just one of them. More and more senior leaders are taking the time to meditate, which by proxy is about clearing the mind. Mindfulness and meditation can also aid essential relaxation, such as sleep. Learning to be more mindful and clearing the mind makes those who struggle to switch off at night fall asleep quicker and more easily. But those sceptical about meditation can simply try this. For 10 minutes every day, take yourself off somewhere quiet. Don’t take the phone, or the tablet or the laptop. Don’t tell anyone where you are going. Don’t take music, don’t go where there is a television. Just spend 10 minutes sitting quietly, and try not to think about anything. Try to fully relax, removing any tension from your body, paying particular attention to the neck, shoulders and back, where tension builds up. Giving your mind and body this rest will help calm and relax you, and make it much easier to tackle what is waiting for you. Your concentration levels will increase, your stress levels will decrease and your ability to process information will get better.

Leading organisations are getting onboard with this. They provide their people with ‘free time’ to explore projects of their choice and step away from the constant demands of their roles. They understand and appreciate the value of giving people this time. We live in a world where boredom and ‘down time’ has become a thing of the past – but let’s not forget that without it, even the brightest minds won’t have the time, attention or focus to create the next great innovation.