ClueGo experience turns out to be a treasure worth winning

My good friend Julia Tybura has just telephoned me demanding to tell me about the exciting time she has had today with ClueGo. It’s a treasure hunt based team building event she tells me. Another one I say. No she says this one is different.

Go on then I say, as I settle down for story time.

You have to remember this has been the hottest day of 2016 and rushing around the Southbank, and Covent Garden in London searching for clues is probably not the best way to deal with the heat and humidity.

But Julia has had a great time. It all started with a rendezvous at the London Eye for a briefing, (health and safety etc). Two teams were formed and each was given a pre-loaded iPad and a deadline to by which time they needed to return to the London Eye, when Julia and her team will finish their day with a trip on the Thames Rocket a super-charged boat!

Over two hours Julia and her team run around the Southbank and Covent Garden collecting as many points as possible. After all points mean prizes – so friendly, or perhaps not so friendly competitiveness is the name of this game!

Julia’s team set off along the Southbank, following what were thankfully very easy instructions, looking out for treasure chests, ghosts and zombie icons in the Google map, with the aim of maxing out the number of points they collected.

I tell Julia that it all seems a bit conventional treasure-hunt to me, and she has to agree, but then explains that although the tasks may be similar  posing with a celebrity (or lookalike), interacting with a statue, taking unusual and creative selfies, getting a copy of yesterday’s newspaper and a black jack sweet or even re-enacting a scene from a film, or even just answering lots of unusual, quirky questions about landmarks and London people which were really difficult to crack on wiki or Google! The big difference is the way in which technology is used to give the treasure hunt an added dimension.

If we had wanted we could have scuppered the other teams’ achievements’. We could have used a range of time limited tools that prevented them from using their app/iPad.

It is possible to see where the other team is and their points on your map, so you could, if you wanted use these strategically…

Instead we focused on storming through various other photos, and puzzles to win even more points before arriving back at the London Eye.

Returning to the London Eye on time we had an amazing, white knuckle ride with Thames Rockets on a high speed RIB – again stopping for photos and more questions to win more points – before going back to the Slug and Lettuce for lunch, drinks and medals.

We were, says Julia with great pride the winners with over 600 points!

Julia Tybura (second from left) with her winning team mates

Julia Tybura (second from left) with her winning team mates

Julia tells me that the experience was exciting and that she thinks that it would be really effective for team building, brand or product training and leadership development.

You don’t need to be a technology expert or even familiar with apps to benefit from the approach.

It is says Julia an experience/app that could be used as a standalone experience or as part of an awayday/conference/training or brand development programme.

The ClueGo app was really easy to use and because of its GPS and use of ‘hotspots’ there was an element of surprise, so teams were kept on their toes if they wanted to win or not be ‘attacked’ by the red ghosts or zombies (which would lose you lots of points).

Always with a eye on costs, Julia described it as cost effective too – with an average price point of £45 per person (depending on numbers, location, timings and be-spoking) – so organisations large and small could benefit from some ‘serious fun’ with ClueGo.

Julia Tybura is managing director of Zenon Consulting

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The cunning approach to healthy eating

Picture the scene: one of the trainers is leaving the gym to move down south, and we are all in a local bar having one or two farewell drinks. As you would expect the conversation features a lot of reminiscing about events that will enter gym folklore, and then there are the conversations about how much or how little progress some of us are making in our pursuit of our ideal level of fitness.

There is a general consensus, as we order another round, that working out in the gym and no end of fitness classes will have very limited effect unless we all get the activities in the kitchen right as well.

Diet plays a huge part in achieving a fitness target. It is not only computers that produce garbage if you feed garbage in!

But, when there are so many temptations and so much of socialising, as we are demonstrating, revolves around the consumption of the less healthy options of food and drink it is the diet part of getting fit that is the most difficult part.

Then we also have to consider why does so much of the healthy stuff that we are told that we should be eating more of taste so, well strange?

Why should I have to start eating things that I do not like? Don’t tell me it’s an acquired taste, why can’t I reach my goal by eating food that I enjoy?

Meredith David and Kelly Haws think that they may have found the answer; in Saying “No” to Cake or “Yes” to Kale: Approach and Avoidance Strategies in Pursuit of Health Goals  which was published in Psychology and Marketing Journal.

The two American psychologists identified that people who are trying to adopt a healthy eating regime focus on two different types of activity

  1. Eating healthy foods like kale (referred to as “approach”), and
  2. Not eating unhealthy foods like cake (referred to as “avoidance”).

The level of change in behaviour that this two-pronged approach requires is above and beyond what many people are capable of achieving and maintaining. Most people just do not have enough self-control

If you are a person with low self-control when you try to change your diet your will tend to focus on what you cannot eat. Someone with higher levels of self-control will focus on the food they can eat.

Meredith David and Kelly Haws conducted two studies with hundreds of undergrad students who were asked to imagine that they were trying to live more healthily and/or lose weight.

Christian Jarrett of the BPS Research Digest described the studies.

In the first study which had three parts

  1. The students completed a questionnaire which identified how much self-control they have in everyday life.
  2. Some of the students were asked to list foods they should eat more of to make their diet healthier,
  3. Other students were asked to list foods they should eat less often.

The results showed that

The students conducted their allocated task in different ways, with the level of self-control being the factor which determined the approach the students took.

Students with high levels of self-control tended to like the foods on their lists more than those with low levels of self-control.

Likewise, the high self-control students were less likely to like the foods that they should avoid to achieve a healthier diet than their low self-control colleagues.

High self-control students also described more healthy foods as likeable that the low self-control students.

The second study involved a repeat of the first study with the added dimension that the students were asked to select the snacks that they would like to receive as a reward for their participation. The selection that they were offered included 16 healthy and unhealthy items.

Students that had provided positive ratings for healthy foods selected the healthier snacks.

The students who said that they liked the less healthy food items in the list exercise selected the less healthy snacks.

That may seem obvious, but David and Haws suggest that it demonstrates that if you want to adopt a healthier diet you should not focus on the things that you like that you have to give up, but on the things that you enjoy that are also better for you and which you should be eating more of.

This is an approach that should work for everyone but they concluded that it is an approach that people with more self-control find easier to adopt.

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Joining CIPD Branch Chairs Alumni Group

IN 2016 I completed over a decade of volunteering with the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development as a member of the North Yorkshire branch Committee, including six years as a volunteer branch chair and eight years as the branch representative on the CIPD National Council.

I stood down as volunteer branch chair after the maximum tenure of two, three year terms.

Now I have accepted an invotation from the CIPD to be one of the first members of the newly created  CIPD Branch Chairs’ Alumni group.

The invitation to join the new group is recognition from the CIPD of my experience as both a HR and development professional and as a volunteer contributor to the CIPD.

The Alumni group will be consulted by the CIPD on new projects, policy and research.

It is a great way to continue my contribution to my profession through the CIPD.


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Entering the Dragons’ Den

Well it had to happen, today I entered the Dragons’ Den. Not the Dragons’s Den of BBC2 TV fame. I have not been subject to the attentions of Debrorah Meaden or an inquistion from Peter Jones.

No the Dragons’ Den that I entered was completely different, and I was a dragon.

The event was the Business in the Community HEART residential at Leeds Beckett University. The Dragons’ Den took place on the third day.

The HEART partnership was established to help build equality of access to higher education for all those pupils who are capable of succeeding at that level and would benefit from the experience. The aim is to encourage under represented groups to access higher education. These groups include people who may have

  • experience of living in care
  • certain disabilities
  • lived in areas of multiple deprivation
  • lived in families with no direct experience fo highher education

The Dragons’ Den forms part of a residential for young people that was designed to increase their confidence and self-esteem, as well as bringing out the students’ skills and qualities so that they can build a better understanding of the world of work and business.

The students were introduced to the world of commerce with an upcycling project in which they were challenged to create something useful from obsolete computer equipment. The project required the students to learn and understand and then put into practice the skills required to solve problems, manage a project, work as a team, communicate effectively and present their ideas.

I was one of the local business people who was asked to assessed the upcycled products that the young people had created. Along the way I had to explain to one of the project teams what a floppy disk is. Apparently it is not something that the young people of today are familiar with.

HEART Partnership three day residential summer school. West Yorkshire, UK. Ian Hinchliffe /

HEART Partnership three day residential summer school. West Yorkshire, UK.
Ian Hinchliffe /

Without good role models and encouragement there is a risk that the young people of the United Kingdom will not build successful working lives. The Confederation of British Business (CBI) agrees with Business in the Community (BITC) that support from businesses can help schools to raise pupil aspirations further, acheive more and helps young people understand and prepare for the world outside the school gates. Schools have also acknowledged that good employer – education engagement as a means of inspiring improved attainment levels and raising pupil aspirations.

The statistics are quite sobering

  • 1 in 5 children leave school to become NEETs not in education, employment or training
  • 30% of UK employers say that school leavers are too costly to employ because they lack the skills that employers need for them to fill entry level vacancies.
  • 88% of pupils would welcome more access to employers to learn about work and bridge the gap between education and employment.




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Investing in Employee Mental Health is Good for Business.

I am looing forward to the Annual Meeting of the CIPD North Yorkshire branch at which I will end six years as volunteer branch chair. Over the last six years I have met an increasing number of HR professionals who are supporting employees who are dealing with mental health issues. It has been good to see the change in attitude towards an area of health that affects a quarter of the UK population, although much more needs to be done before we understand mental health issues as well as we understand physical health. It was for this reason that I challenged Kerry Smith the volunteer leader of the branch events team to create an event, my last as branch chair that would contribute to increasing this understanding.

As the first bookings for the Annual Meeting are arriving the World Health Organisation has published research that identifies the benefits of investing in mental health services for workers has on productivity and profitability.

This year’s Annual Meeting falls in Mental Health Awareness Week 2016, and our guest speaker will be Jon Bartlett, who lives and works with a diagnosis of Bipolar Disorder.

In the United Kingdom some 70 million working days are lost each year to mental health related absence. Globally the cost of depression and anxiety disorders costs US$1 trillion each year.

Part of the reason why poor mental health is such a problem is that it is an area of health that is so often misunderstood. People do not know how to recognise the early signs of mental health issues or have the confidence to seek help.

It is not so long ago that a similar issue existed with male specific cancers like prostrate and testicular cancer. Early diagnosis and subsequent successful treatment is increasing are as a result of campaigns like Movember and the check-em out campaign which featured pop star Robbie Williams. Learning lessons from these campaigns will help to break down the stigma associated with mental health and get people to discuss it. Just as with many physical illnesses early diagnosis and intervention can help slow down or stop a mental health problem and lead to faster recovery.

At the Annual Meeting we will be learning from personal and organisational experience how to spot the common signs and symptoms of mental illnesses like anxiety and depression and how to help each other – and yourselves.

As HR professionals we have an important role to play in reducing the stigma associated with mental illness and reducing the discrimination the sufferers encounter. Regardless of the issue that HR professionals have to deal with their role is more successful when they can demonstrate a clear business benefit from the activities involved in solving the issue. Now the World Health Organisation (WHO) and World Bank (WB) have released research which demonstrates that every US$ 1 invested in scaling up treatment for depression and anxiety leads to a return of US$ 4 in better health and ability to work.

The WHO-led study, published in The Lancet Psychiatry, provides a global estimate, for the first time, of both the health and economic benefits of investing in treatment of the most common forms of mental illness. The study, provides a strong argument for greater investment in mental health services in countries of all income levels.

Dr Margaret Chan, Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO), said, “We know that treatment of depression and anxiety makes good sense for health and wellbeing; this new study confirms that it makes sound economic sense too.”

Dr Chan called for new ways to make sure that access to mental health services becomes a reality for all men, women and children, wherever they live.”
Depression and anxiety are increasing.

Common mental disorders are increasing worldwide. Between 1990 and 2013, the number of people suffering from depression and/or anxiety increased by nearly 50%, from 416 million to 615 million. Close to 10% of the world’s population is affected, and mental disorders account for 30% of the global non-fatal disease burden. Humanitarian emergencies and ongoing conflict add further to the need for scale-up of treatment options. WHO estimates that, during periods of heighten activity, like meeting deadlines, as many as 1 in 5 people are affected by depression and anxiety.

Returns on investment in treatment far outweigh the costs

The new study calculated treatment costs and health outcomes for the fifteen years from 2016-2030.

The estimated costs of scaling up treatment, primarily psychosocial counselling and anti-depressant medication, amounted to US$ 147 billion. Yet the returns far outweigh the costs. A five percent improvement in labour force participation and productivity is valued at US$ 399 billion, and improved health adds another US$ 310 billion in returns.

However, current investment in mental health services is far lower than what is needed. According to WHO’s Mental Health Atlas 2014 survey, governments spend on average 3% of their health budgets on mental health, ranging from less than 1% in low-income countries to 5% in high-income countries.

Figures from the Nuffield Trust indicate that in England the NHS spend around £12billion a year on mental health, including dementia. It is the biggest area of NHS spending, around double the amount spent on cancers and tumours.

Whilst appearing happy is no guarantee that someone does not have a mental health issue the Office of National Statistics (ONS) have identified what the happiest person in the UK might look like.

“Despite hundreds of millions of people around the world living with mental disorders, mental health has remained in the shadows,” said Jim Yong Kim, President of the World Bank Group. “This is not just a public health issue—it’s a development issue. We need to act now because the lost productivity is something the global economy simply cannot afford.”

The World Bank Group-International Monetary Fund want to see mental health at the centre of the health and development agenda with increases in funding for mental health.

Arthur Kleinman, Professor of Medical Anthropology and Psychiatry at Harvard University and an expert on global mental health, said, “Mental health needs to be a global humanitarian and development priority—and a priority in every country. We need to provide treatment, now, to those who need it most, and in the communities where they live. Until we do, mental illness will continue to eclipse the potential of people and businesses.”

Use this link to book your place at this event.

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