Let’s talk Communication

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Now we all know that the key to any successful organisation is good communication, which is why more and more of our clients are coming to us with their main objective being to develop clear and concise communication. Our clients find that when their sense of sight is taken away and they’re set a task, suddenly they have to dramatically improve their levels of communication and empathy. This is especially true when they are set challenges where there is one sighted instructor who has to lead the team as they are made very aware of the fact that they will only achieve their goals if they give instructions from the blindfolded teammates perspectives.

In an event this month with Telefonica (O2), the objectives for the day were simple, ‘Communication, communication, communication!’. Mark Floate, Radio Operations Group Manager for Telefonica UK said

“the event itself, over three hours, was one of the best events that enabled clear objectives that I have ever been involved in. The experience that was created on being totally alone at the start and to move forward in that short period of gaining confidence was clear precise and demonstrated throughout of how you get from isolation to team confidence…All of my team have indicated to me that this was also the best event they have completed too”

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Georgie Bullen shortlisted for Red Magazine’s Smart Women of the Year Award

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We are so pleased to announce that our Director, Georgie Bullen (picture bottom right), has been shortlisted for the Red Magazine’s Smart Women of the Year Award!

‘The Smart Woman Award, in association with Clinique, celebrates an inspiring icon who stands out from any of the award categories. Whether it’s art, politics, fashion, business, charity or more, the award recognises a trailblazer making a difference in the world.’

If you would like to show your support, you can vote for Georgie here

Thank you!

Celebrating Global Accessibility Awareness Day with Atos and BBC

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On Thursday 21st May, Team Insight was invited to Atos and BBC’s Global Accessibility Awareness Day event at the Atos London head office.

Celebrating it’s third year, Global Accessibility Awareness Day is an international event which aims to get people thinking and learning about digital accessibility alongside the various disabilities that users struggle with.

Atos and BBC brought together representatives from many different organisations, including Microsoft, AbilityNet and Sony. Each had the opportunity to showcase different technology they have created in order to make the world a more accessible place.

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Team Insight was invited to be part of the day as an effort to give people a greater understanding of one of the disabilities that make creating accessible technology so important, visual impairment.

As with all of our events, we wanted to give everyone a small taster of what it’s like to be blind, so we created a small obstacle course which participants attempted in pairs; one person in the pair wore a blindfold and the other gave instructions. The aim of the activity was for the sighted participant to instruct their blindfolded partner to find a small object at the end of the course in the fastest time possible and each obstacle they touched resulted in a one second penalty. The fastest time achieved by a pair when combining their times in each role was 1.03 minutes. It was very interesting to see how different people approached the activity; some decided on tactics beforehand, discussing what size steps to take, while others just chose to go for it and see what happens. Generally the consensus was that it was a lot tougher than it appeared, with many struggling with balance, spatial awareness and clear communication.

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In addition to the activity, we encouraged everyone to try on our simulation spectacles which give the effect of having different visual impairments, so the participants could gain an understanding of different levels of sight loss.

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Everyone embraced the activity and were amazed by the sensation of having their sense of sight taken away by both the blindfolds and the simulation spectacles.

Neil Milliken, Head of Accessibility & Digital Inclusion for Atos said “We really valued the extra dimension that Team Insight added to our Global Accessibility Awareness Day event. Giving people the opportunity to get hands on experience is very valuable and we had feedback from participants that confirmed this”

If you’d like to join in on weekly discussions on accessibility, you can visit axschat.com or follow them on twitter @AXSChat

O2 Connects with Team Insight

On the 27th March Team Insight delivered a teambuilding and visual impairment awareness training event at the Desborough Leisure Centre for the Learning and Development team of O2.

The team of 40 were split into two, a morning session and an afternoon session. Our objectives for the day were to create concise communication, develop trust and build their visual impairment awareness in a unique and exciting way. Initially we knew we would be pushing the participants far from their comfort zones, but ultimately we anticipated they would also have fun and gain confidence.

When the delegates first put the blindfolds on, many felt uncomfortable, isolated and disorientated, so the first activity was a welcome distraction. We began with ‘alphabodies’ where each team had one sighted instructor who had to direct their team into whichever letter was called out. The groups were surprised when doing the activity at how difficult it was to give non-visual instructions and how much they had to concentrate on giving concise communication. It was entertaining for everyone involved when an instructor would get so far and then realise they’d forgotten what a ‘B’ looked like and what got even more laughs was the ‘interpretations’ of letters, we ended up with a lot of lightning strikes that were meant to be ‘z’s’.

We moved onto relay races; in less than one hour, the groups went from feeling afraid and daunted by simply putting on the shades, to running unassisted in an 18 metre long blindfolded relay race! The race really strengthened the sense of trust amongst the groups as well as bringing out everyone’s competitive edge.

The transformation that occurred through the build-up activities was incredible, not only in the level of communication and trust in the groups, but the level of understanding of how it feels to be visually impaired had dramatically changed.

After a short break, where everyone had had a chance to try our visual impairment simulation spectacles and talk to the Team Insight staff about our Paralympic experiences and different visual impairments, we moved onto the Goalball experience.

Everyone was instructed on the rules of the game, how to defend, shoot and pass. They quickly dived on into a round-robin tournament. The competition brought everyone together either playing as a team or in watching and cheering on their co-workers. The competitive nature of the delegates was obvious to all and especially entertaining in some of the highly creative manner of goal celebrations.

We surprised the groups by finishing the sessions with an opportunity for each of them to do a penalty shootout against Georgie. Those who scored their penalty won a ‘I Beat a Paralympian’ Team Insight teddy bear, but they soon found out that Georgie wouldn’t go down without a fight as in each group of 20 delegates, only 3 were successful. Those that scored were greeted with the explosive cheer and congratulations of their co-workers.

The Learning and Development team of O2 were fantastic representatives of the organisation as all of the delegates embraced every challenge.

Paul Morgan, the Head of Learning and Development for O2, said afterwards: “I have organised many team events, but this one is so unique that you and your team will never forget it! Georgie and her team take you completely out of your comfort zone and you will see many different reactions, from ones of fear and discomfort at the start of the exercises, to by the end everyone really gets into the event and have forgotten everything they felt at the start. How can you not be inspired by Paralympians and supporting the awareness of visual impairment, as two-thirds of visually impaired people are still out of work. My team have been inspired by the activity, by the sport and ultimately by Georgie.”

Highflyingdivas Forum

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On the 24th February, I was lucky enough to be invited along to speak at the ‘Highflyingdivas’ event, which is an all-female networking group. It was a brilliant night, and the best structured networking event that I’ve ever been to.

It began with introductions and led on to my talk on ‘Changing perceptions’. My topic was about the difficulties that visually impaired people face in trying to seek employment and how I launched Team Insight in the hope that we can help educate employers in VI awareness, so they feel more confident in offering positions to blind people. The talk seemed to evoke a lot of interest, with many feeding back that it made them realise how disability is often a last priority in ‘diversity and inclusion’. After the Q&A session, we split up into smaller groups so that each member had the opportunity to share, and potentially solve, any issues they’ve been having in their professional lives. It was a fantastic way of everyone getting to know one another and created a very supportive atosphere.

I thoroughly enjoyed the evening, it was superbly run and I would highly recommend joining their LinkedIn group and attending some events!

To find out more visit the Highflyingdivas website