Bryan - The FreshSight experience
Coming back to FreshSight after two years has been a really fun experience. It’s been great to see what’s changed and what’s stayed the same - you can tell, even with everything being virtual. There are new faces in management and in the consulting teams, but the organisation still feels like it did when I was a second year: the passion, the smarts, the slightly nerdy, somewhat quirky vibe that you catch walking in the door. We’ve been able to develop the FreshSight feeling through the zoom meetings and hangouts - which was probably my main concern going into the project. We’ll tell you a bit about our project and our experience so far in this blog post.
Margherita - Why I joined FreshSight
There are three main reasons why I decided to join FreshSight as a consultant this year: the mission, the challenge and the people!
Mission | I joined FreshSight because this organisation selects valuable, sustainable, socially conscious projects and I was eager to contribute to positive social change. By collaborating with third-sector organisations to help them thrive and grow, I feel like I am contributing in making a tangible and long-lasting impact whilst developing valuable professional skills.
Challenge | FreshSight gives consultants a chance to feel challenged and grow by having us work interdependently with multiple stakeholders on a brand new project and with a strict timeline. This way, we can develop effective communication, teamwork and time-management, which are key soft skills to deliver quality work.
People | Last but not least, I joined FreshSight because I wanted to connect with a variety of driven and passionate individuals. Joining the Forgan Arts Centre team has definitely exceeded this expectation, as my teammates are all ambitious, adaptable, and enthusiastic individuals. In our team, we are all interested in designing the best solutions for FAC and it is rewarding to see how hard everyone works to achieve our objective. We have been working closely at every step of the process, supported each other and bonded over Zoom calls!
Zoe - Our project
This term, our team is working with the Forgan Arts Centre (FAC) to research how they can best operate under the conditions of the pandemic to set them up for future success. FAC previously operated from a small, old schoolhouse with limited accessibility in the north of Fife. However, since the start of the pandemic they have been unable to continue their operations. Even before social distancing made in-person classes a challenge, FAC was hoping to relocate to a larger premise, at Leng Home, to become a more diverse and inclusive community centre.
Our project reviews FAC’s current services and assess potential new offerings with the overarching purpose of informing funding applications. To do so, we have been reaching out to other businesses and support services to determine how they have been adjusting their delivery methods online. We hope to maintain and grow, through our research-informed recommendations, the incredible community which FAC has created and supported over its 40 year history.
Izzy - Problems we faced
During our consulting project we have definitely faced a few bumps along the way. Firstly, with FreshSight operating online, our team having never met in person, and our task off to a flying start, we had to work toward building new cohesive relationships from the get-go. Although speaking over zoom was a challenge at times, our team managed to chat for hours and get to know each other, whilst getting the job done. Secondly, in terms of our project, after COVID-19 restrictions not being eased as expected and hearing feedback received from Thinktank, implementing an online strategy needed to be a focus for Forgan Arts Center. The initial brief emphasised demand assessment for both arts therapy and for increasing the diversity of the Forgan Arts Centre community; we needed to figure out how to not lose touch with the initial brief whilst adding new elements. With a supportive team and engaging clients, we managed to come up with a solution where we incorporated all three concepts – implementing an arts therapy program, increasing diversity, and providing recommendations for online delivery, to ensure that we manage the clients vision and aid their long term success.
Ruying - New skills learnt from FreshSight
During our project, we have conducted research in demand assessment, impact analysis and outreach, each task has provided us new learnings and experiences.
Outreach - By getting in touch with art therapists, organisation managers, university students, and many others, we have obtained qualitative information to improve our recommendations. This procedure has cultivated our research and communication skills, which are essential in contacting and maintaining relationships with clients in any industry.
Demand Assessment - Our team has done lots of research and analysis of demand data. For example, we studied competitor business models and scope of services, and designed surveys to capture a rough picture of demand for arts services in certain regions. These tasks have developed our critical thinking and evaluation skills.
Impact Analysis - This is an important part of the project as the organisation contributes a lot of intangible benefits to its community. Learning how to quantify this impact is a big challenge in today’s third sector. By looking at different frameworks, we have gained insights in common procedures of impact measurement and the different perspectives of analysing social impact.
Silvia - Things that surprised about the FreshSight process
I knew that becoming a student consultant at FreshSight would be a valuable experience, but this adventure has surprised me pleasantly in ways I did not expect. Firstly, I was happy to discover that the online transition has not made FreshSight lose its social aspect; the management team have ensured that the consultants all get to know each other. Secondly, I was surprised by the amount of interim presentations and reports we have had. I was expecting the group to be present the work only at the end, but having interims and getting feedback has completely shaped our project, and I can’t imagine having done the work without the constant updates. It was also a chance for everyone to improve their presentation and business writing skills. Lastly, I was surprised at how young the members of the management team are considering their position and responsibility within FreshSight.