Collaborating to develop a new Outcomes Star

Information for potential collaborators

The Outcomes Star is relevant and helpful within an enormous range of human experience, so we regularly receive enquiries, requests or ideas for new Stars or variations. This document sets out the process of developing new versions of the Outcomes Star, to provide some initial information. We are always interested in applying our learning in new areas, though need to be sure that a Star is the right tool so the first step will be to talk through your needs and ideas.

All new Stars rely on collaborators

Developing a new Star is a robust process and therefore substantial undertaking.
Collaborators provide the expertise, testing and also funding for new Star development. Since 2006 we have collaborated with over 60 organisations, including central and local government, charitable foundations, NHS Trusts, voluntary and independent organisations. Some Stars are developed with a single collaborator, others with several with the cost spread between them. We have also had a number of international collaborations with organisations in Australia and one with the US.
Most versions of the Star come about because someone approaches us with the idea and then works with us to leverage further support and funding. Sometimes we can connect people who have approached us separately over the years with the same Star. Occasionally we are proactive in seeking collaboration where we see a need.

We start with some scoping

The Star is not always the right response to meet a need. First, we need to check that the Star would be a helpful and suitable tool for that topic or area. This depends on:

  • Whether services supporting people in that sector or area of need work with people holistically, over a period of time and (usually) with at least some element of one to one support
  • Whether the process of change is holistic and happens over a period of time
  • Whether there are sufficient services and people with that need to justify the development
  • What tools and frameworks are currently in use and whether there is a gap or need that could be met by a Star
  • Whether Triangle and the potential collaborators currently have the capacity to engage in the development

Our first step is therefore to discuss internally and with you, and carry out a scoping process, including a literature review and analysis of services and other tools.

We have a tried and tested process, including a Working Group

The development process centres on a working group of managers, frontline workers and (depending on the sector) service users, a range of professionals and/or volunteers. The process is structured around three all-day meetings of this group:

  • In the first workshop, we take people through a series of exercises and explorations to hear from them about the outcome areas and Journey of Change, and gather other information in order to produce an initial draft
  • After some back and forth discussions with lead collaborators, this draft is presented to the second workshop and revised before being piloted
  • Much of the elapsed time in the development process is due to the pilot which is usually at least six months. Workers are trained, the Star is completed with service users and Star data and feedback gathered
  • In the final workshop, we hear back from the pilot about the process of using the Star and about the tool itself. We also analyse the data and run a number of reliability and validity tests and present this at the workshop
  • We then finalise the tool and take it through the production process, and work with collaborators to then let others in the sectors know about it.

Co-creation with service users is fundamental

Coproduction is an essential elements and key strengths of the Outcomes Stars, including coproduction with Service users as well as workers and other professionals. There are different approaches to engaging service users, depending on what works best:

  • Sometimes service users are part of the core working group. This relies on service users being sufficiently empowered to participate meaningfully. E.g. Young people with cancer were part of the working group to create the Support Star and parents who were ex-service users were influential in the Family Star working group
  • Sometimes service users are enabled to participate meaningfully in the core working group by attending with a support worker
  • For other versions of the Star, we have attended expert panels, interviewed service users individually or consulted service user groups in other ways. Where it is not possible for us to attend directly, facilitators or workers in the organisation have run consultation groups and fed back to us
  • Service users are always an essential part of the pilot, and are invited to complete a feedback form on their experience of using the pilot Star in any suggestions for improvement

We discuss this with you at the proposal stage and usually rely on collaborators for access to people to consult and engage in co-production.

New Star development usually costs £30,000

Each new version is quoted for separately based on initial discussions, but the standard cost is £30,000 from the scoping to publication and including all expenses, editing, design and the Star Online web application. The overall cost may be more with a large number of collaborators or other added complexity or innovation. Once the price is agreed, we keep to it, which can mean Triangle subsidises Star development.

Sometimes organisations want to collaborate and do not have the resources themselves but are able to attract funding. We support that process by providing a proposal and are happy to do presentations to relevant groups of organisations or potential funders. The Outcomes Stars are sector-wide tools that are widely available with training and a Star Licence once published, so it is appropriate for funding to come from sector sources.

Why collaborate?

Organisations collaborate with us for different reasons, but the main ones are:

  • To make it happen now, because they want that version of the Star and no one else has yet made it happen
  • To have much earlier access – collaborating organisations often have access to the Star over a year ahead of the rest of their sector because they start using the pilot version within three months of the development and then change to the final version after publication
  • The Outcomes Stars are recognised as a positive innovation and increasingly organisations are keen to promote their collaboration. Some have submitted academic papers or carried out communications work focusing on the role they played in the development
  • An element of altruism and support for the wider sector, among other reasons

If you are interested and hope that this is a possibility for your sector, please feel free to contact us for an initial discussion. (00 44) 20 7272 8765