Early in 2020 we were putting the finishing touches to our strategic plan and new online app. We were approaching the new year with confidence and a strong sense of direction. We really knew what this year was about – we thought! Like everyone else, Triangle has not had the year we planned. So what have we learnt from the unprecedented changes and challenges?
The Outcomes Star supports remote working
When people can’t be in the same physical space and must connect online or by phone, the Outcomes Star can help build connection, rapport and understanding by providing a shared map of how things are now and where they might need to go. The visual of the Star and the Journey of Change ladders have always been important in engaging people, but this benefit can be even greater when other ways of connecting are stripped away.
There are of course complications. More advanced planning is required because the materials need to be posted beforehand if the person receiving support can’t access the Internet. But overall Star users tell us it is well worth it.
When needs must, creativity flourishes
They do say that necessity is the mother of invention and that has certainly been the case for us when it comes to delivering training to use the Star. Although we had been considering alternative delivery methods for some time, the first lockdown focused our minds. Within weeks we had a remote training offer and what was even better, was the excellent feedback we received.
Now we are looking at creating more digital training content and ways of bringing Star users together both remotely and in person when Covid allows. This will enable us to provide more support – particularly to smaller organisations and to managers who are really crucial to successful implementation of the Star.
The Star is intrinsically trauma-informed
As trauma-informed working has risen up the agenda in many sectors we have been exploring how the Outcomes Star can support a trauma-informed approach. What we have learnt is that part of what draws people to the Star is that it is intrinsically trauma-informed. By focusing on the present rather than someone’s past, and their strengths as well as their challenges, the Star avoids the re-traumatising impact of going over previous experiences.
The visual aspects help people get perspective and make links between different parts of their life, even when they are close to the edge of their ‘window of tolerance’. And the Journey of Change recognises the importance of building trusting relationships with helpers as a secure foundation on which everything else depends. We are exploring how to further support trauma-informed working so do get in touch if this is an area of interest and have a look at our briefing.
The evidence-base for Star validity is growing
Some things, such as our research programme, have continued more or less as planned. We were delighted to have a piece on the psychometric validity of the Family Star Plus published in the peer reviewed Journal Family Relations. We also added many new pieces of independent research on other versions of the Outcomes Star to our online library where you can now find details of 55 independent studies. Much more is planned with a new piece on the psychometric validity of the Outcomes Star for homelessness in the pipeline.
Evaluation is becoming better integrated into service delivery
We have all learnt to be more responsive because of Covid and that is very good news when it comes to learning and evaluation. Evaluators are reporting that people are becoming more interested in data day to day rather than seeing evaluation as something that happens after the work has been completed. We see this as a good thing as it supports learning rather than an end of project report that sits on the shelf.
We are starting to make the case that we need a new breed of tool that works well as part of on-going service delivery and provides ‘live’ management information on progress. This contrasts with research tools that are designed for one-off studies. We see the Star as one of the first of this new breed and would like to join with others in exploring how this kind of tool is best assessed and validated. Please get in touch if this is something you are interested in too.
Counting the cost
Now at the beginning of 2021 we, like everyone else, are aware that we have only just seen the tip of the iceberg when it comes to counting the cost of Covid. We are exploring how we can continue to adapt to help the helpers respond to the rising needs. One part of that could be looking at what Star data can show about the impact of the pandemic on service users across different services and sectors. Is this and exploration that you would be interested to join?
Triangle is the social enterprise behind the Outcomes Star™. Triangle exists to help service providers transform lives by creating engaging tools and promoting enabling approaches. To talk to Joy MacKeith or another member of the Triangle team, or for any other information, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.