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Carol Craig is the Centre's Chief Executive. She is author of The Scots' Crisis of Confidence, Creating Confidence: A Handbook for Professionals Working with Young People, The Tears that Made the Clyde: Well-being in Glasgow and The Great Takeover: How materialism, the media and markets now dominate our lives. Her latest book is Hiding in Plain Sight: Exploring Scotland's ill health. She is Commissioning editor for the Postcards from Scotland series. Carol blogs on confidence, well-being, inequality, every day life and some of the great challenges of our time. The views she expresses are her own unless she specifically states that they reflect the Centre's thinking.

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Posted 28/05/2008 | 3 Comments

The Centre is now mid-way through its fourth year. Our activities report for 2007 will be posted on the site in the middle of next week. Again I think we have had a strong year, with lots of our work, particularly on young people, coming to fruition.

However, we now have a strong sense that we need to enter into a new phase of work. The type of work we engaged in during Phase 1, the first three years, was based on a number of decisions:

1. To prioritise work based on fairly sound theories or empirical research. We particularly majored on Positive Psychology because it is better in this regard than many other personal development approaches.
2. This also meant avoiding motivational style speakers or events driven by personalities, or stories, rather than ideas. This is not to say that motivational style events have no value (stories can be very powerful) but we decided that this was not our area of specialism/expertise. One of the advantages of this decision is that our events have a feeling of substance about them.
3. To concentrate on the public, rather than the private sector. A number of events attracted private sector participants and we ran some workshops for the private sector but generally our work was more geared at people working in the public sector. One of the reasons for this decision was partly about the nature of the challenges facing Scotland (health, for example or employability) but also because if we had prioritised work with business there would have been a danger of us simply becoming another training company with programmes to sell.
4. To engage mainly with organisations (ie leaders, professionals of one kind or another) rather than tailor our message for the general public. This was expedient as we simply did not have the staff or resources to do something larger and more ambitious.

During this first phase there was a loose, unfocused quality to some of what we were doing. We were deliberately looking to see what new ideas were available, what the pros and cons were of these ideas, what seemed particularly relevant to Scottish culture and also what seemed to go with the grain of our culture and value system. Three and a half years on from the inaugural Scotland’s Tipping Point event, I think we have begun to find more of our own voice. We have a much clearer idea of what we think the issues are that we need to address and how we might go about this. So Phase 2 is going to be about building on and consolidating this thinking, finding partners and engaging people in discussion on some of these new ideas. In the next few months we’ll announce some of this formally. In the meantime please use this blog forum to give us any feedback or ideas that you would like us to consider.
Comment By Comment
Alex Smith

Comment Posted: 02/06/2008 13:26
It doesn't feel like four years since I was part of the Tipping Point evet at Oran Mor but when I look back, the Centre has achieved a great deal - despite the naysayers. I have benefitted from the Vanguard programe, in fact I am still in touch with Acacia Parks who is the Project Co-ordinator at the Positive Psychology research project. I was also fortunate enough to be part of the Communicating with Confidence programme last year. Unfortunately, i have had only one opportunity to use the learnings but feedback from the construction trainees I worked with very positive.

I remember Carol saying after the Tipping Point event that she would like to get Malcolm Gladwell back for a bigger event. I think that now is the time to do it. And to think really big. I get the feeling that the Centre is less on peoples' lips than it was a year or two ago and perhaps another Gladwell or similar type event will help to bring its excellent work back into public prominence.

Alex Smith
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Anne Houston 2
Joined: 03/06/2008

Comment Posted: 03/06/2008 13:35
I think the Centre has taken the right approach so far. It has slowly built both credibility and an understanding of the issues within the public sector. The work focussing on young people and parents has been particularly worthwhile.
The secret over the next phase of the Centre's development will be to find ways of embedding the Centre's thinking throught identifying public sector 'champions' and cascading some of the resources available e.g Communicating with Confidence, Learned Optimism, Confidence Plus etc. Well done for all achieved so far!
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Joined: 11/05/2007

Comment Posted: 18/06/2008 11:28
I have been to a few of the Centre's events which were very good. But I think the Centre needs to do more to raise its profile among 'frontline' staff who have so much experience and knowledge to share but who tend to get bypassed when it comes to policy level discussions. For example, within the NHS psychology department where I work only a handful of people have heard anything about the centre. Perhaps the Centre should do more outreach, perhaps facilitate forums for the specific groups mentioned on the homepage (and add 'Healthcare' to the list). P Ronald, Ayrshire
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