Dragons' Den - 17 July 2008
The second “BEST Dragons’ Den” took place on Thursday 17th July at the Custard Factory.
The day was divided into two with separate morning and afternoon Dragons. The morning Dragons were: Richard Billingham; Head of Organisation Development, Debra Davis; Director of Public Affairs and Communication, Niki Rao; Head of Business Transformation Communications, Bob Morrison; BEST Associate and Maggie Brason; winner of the March BEST Manager of the Month Award
The first to enter the Dragons’ Den was Michelle Floyd and Tina Evans representing the Ladywood Business Support Team from the Children Young People and Families directorate. The team had prepared their bid for funding to revamp their from office as it looks shabby and is demoralising for staff as well as giving their visitors a poor impression of the service they provide for excluded children and their families. The Dragons were impressed by their enthusiastic presentation and dedication to their customers, and awarded the maximum funding available of £1000.
Next to enter the Dragons’ Den were the Mobile Library Service lead by BEST Leader, Kate McTigue. Kate and her team needed funding to have 1000 promotional canvas, reusable carrier bags to hand out to members of the public to help celebrate the silver anniversary of the service next year. The pair gave an excellent presentation to the Dragons’ who were more than happy to assist offering them not only the 1000 bags that they were looking for but a few added extras as well.
Dragon Richard Billingham, offered the services of the BEST communications team to help design the bags. Whilst fellow dragon Debra Davis, offered the team her services to come up with a structured and effective PR and Marketing strategy, not only for the 25th Anniversary of the service but beyond 2009.
Third to enter the Den were a team from Regulatory Services in the Chief Executives Directorate. As part of the schools Litter Charter, children are actively encouraged to take a part in growing their own food. The team approached the Dragons requesting funding to enable them to promote allotments in inner-city schools. The Dragons were suitably impressed but felt that the presentation was not closely linked enough with the Council’s core values of belief, excellence, success and trust. However maximum funding was granted on condition of two BEST Dragons going to meet with the team and speak with the BEST Leader, to clearly outline how their money would benefit the customer, as well as demonstrate the core values of our organisation.
The fourth team to enter the Den was Sam Clifford and Rebecca Yates from the Ashbourne Centre in CYP&F Directorate. The team successfully approached the Dragons for £583.77 to pay for a sign to promote the entrance to the site. The sign is to be designed by pupils in a competition in the centre. The Dragons also offered contacts to the applicants, so that the sign could be made by our internal teams, and maximum help be offered.
Dragon Laura Manzie said: ‘I came along ready to breathe fire and ask some difficult questions to live up to the "dragon” status but it was not needed! The people presenting really did demonstrate the BEST core values and were genuinely committed to owning change at team level. Their success in securing hard cash to progress innovative ideas demonstrates that BEST is more than a workshop and the Council is putting its money where its mouth is so to speak! I came away feeling humbled and inspired.’
In the afternoon there was a change of Dragons and Tarik Chawdry; Assistant Director of HR, Raffaela Goodby; Employee Engagement Manager, Roy Billingham; a Birmingham citizen, Hazel Broadhouse; BEST Programme Manager and Laura Manzie; Executive assistant to Stephen Hughes.
The first team in the afternoon to enter the Den was the Performance and Support Services Team from CYP&F. The team were awarded £1000 funding to help set up and awards scheme for staff who work in cleaning and support services within schools. The Dragons also pledged practical support to help set up the awards, including access to photographers, trophies and organisation support.
The next team to enter were the Behaviour and Support Services team also from CYP&F, represented by Ayla Young. The team were awarded £1000 to help develop two unused spaces at their centre into an outdoor classroom and learning area, so pupils will have an attractive environment to learn and play in. The Dragons were particularly impressed that this team had already made some headway with setting up the classroom, and were involving the older children in teaching the younger children, as well as sourcing local, sustainable materials for their project.
The third team of the afternoon was Edwin Arrowsmith House who were awarded £750 to purchase a PC and Webcam to allow elderly residents access to the world wide web, to stay in contact with relatives all over the world, print pictures of days out, and engage with their families on a different level. The Dragons were impressed that the team presenting outlined the psychological impact this would have for their service users, as well as the development it would offer for their staff. In addition to the money they requested, the Dragons offered additional support to buy a larger screen, and support of our internal IT department instead of paying for broadband, as well as the offer of free IT training for their care assistants to use the computer.
The final team of the day were from Heartlands hospital social work team, and they successfully bid for £870 to purchase a plumbed in hot water urn as they are a large team of over 50 with many students and visitors as well, who are boiling 6 kettles to make over 200 cups of tea per day! The Dragons also pledged 50 branded BEST mugs and a months supply of tea bags, to get them started.
Dragon Niki Rao said: ‘I loved the event. I think it’s really worthwhile as it showcases the compassionate and altruistic side of the employees of BCC; how these individuals make Birmingham a better place and the lives they touch.’