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October 23, 2008

Non-profit organisation goes interactive to prepare for audit inspection

The effectiveness of a recent three-day conference for staff at non-profit organisation Hackney Homes, which manages council homes in the London borough of Hackney, was increased dramatically thanks to the use of interactive technology.

The main objectives of the event were to prepare for an Audit Commission inspection in November and to communicate the business direction for 2008/2009 and to comprehensively capture all feedback, ideas and questions.

Keep taking the tablets: Hackney Homes staff go interactive

Around 300 staff attended the event each day. Individuals were split into 30 groups of 10, each sharing a table with one digital engagement tablet supplied by LiveInteractive. Real-time text feedback could be entered into the tablet, which could also be used for internet access or viewing digital documents and multimedia files. All staff were also given a handheld voting palmlet, enabling ‘yes’ and ‘no’ responses to multiple choice questions.

The event facilitator used the digital tablets to run group exercises, distribute pictures, instructions and examples. The groups were then able to upload answers immediately via a touch screen keyboard on the tablet. This allowed responses to be used for instant discussion and debate. The digital tablets were also used as a communication channel, where delegates could ask questions instantly and anonymously. These were then compiled by the on-site LiveInteractive team and directed to the facilitator as a subject for discussion.

The palmlets were also used as a feedback tool. Questions were displayed at the front of the venue and then voted on in multiple-choice format using the palmlets. Finally, to help break up the day, the palmlets allowed staff taking part in a light-hearted quiz.

“The audience engagement tools gave the staff more confidence to get involved, resulting in a decent amount of feedback which we used to ensure the event was relevant and informative. The tablets and palmlets were easy and entertaining to use, helping to break up the day and heighten interest levels,” said Chloe Goddard, head of communications at Hackney Homes. “The technology enabled us to feed back immediately to staff and tailor the programme accordingly and consolidated all the notes after the event into a manageable document.”

Following the event, Hackney Homes staff returned to the office clear on next year’s objectives and, although not exactly looking forward to the visit by the Audit Commission, certainly feeling a lot more prepared for it.

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