Nuno Archer wins the Stone Soup Award 2019 with the research “Psychosocial development and student engagement in school: a study in basic and secondary education”  


1. This year the Stone Soup Award focused on projects that researched “new educational models with a positive impact on responsible behaviour”. Could you tell us what is your project about? 

 Thank you very much for this award. I feel especially happy because what won the award was the importance of the research theme. Its main goal is to deepen what we know  about the relation between personal and social development and the school as an increasingly important context for the growth of children and young people.

 To better explore the concept of development, the project is supported on the theoretical strength of Erikson’s classical Psychosocial Theory and its optimistic stance of permanent growth throughout the life span. This approach is complemented with the 5 Cs model (connection, confidence, character, competence and caring), plus one C for contribution. This model emerges from the work of Richard Lerner and colleagues, in the line of Positive Youth Development. 

To account for the role of school in development, the research works on the construct of Student Engagement in School. Some of the renewed enthusiasm that this construct in gaining in Portugal (visible in research, international studies and congresses), is linked to the work of Feliciano Henriques Veiga, to whom I thank the inspiring work and the quality and close guidance as adviser of this research 

Stone Soup Consulting was commissioned to partner with ABAADV, an association in Portugal providing Guide Dog's for the Blind. The project developed the training programme needed to deliver additional service dogs to people in need. It also enabled the co-creation of the social impact evaluation system related to this programme. 

The Guide Dog School for the Blind (ABAADV) is based in Chão do Vento, in the Municipality of Mortágua, Viseu, Portugal. The initial scope of the association is the education of guide dogs for blind people. It was founded in 1999 and is the only organisation of it's type working in this area in Portugal.

Each year, ABAADV delivers an average of 16 trained guide dogs to blind people. However, ABAADV has to start the process with a much larger number of dogs - on average about 25 dogs a year, to ensure enough candidate dogs pass the test and get selected as guide dogs.  When the dogs are 3 months old, they are sent to host families for 2 years. In the second year of the programme, dogs spend weekdays training at the school and the weekend with their families. Evaluated every 3 months, not all dogs have the characteristics required to become guide dogs. Therefore, there are approx. 9 dogs left each year, who have not made the final cut for selection as guide dogs. 

Stone Soup Academy is offering an Agile Methodology for Social Impact workshop this Autumn, hosted by our consultant Daniel Manitsky. Read his blog post below on the methodology and why it is of benefit to the social sector. 

 

As the world becomes more interconnected, we in the social and environmental sectors are being asked to take on ever more ambitious efforts. We are facing demands to innovate faster, work more seamlessly with other organizations, and tackle increasingly complex problems.

These new demands have created new management and leadership challenges. We find some of the most vexing of these challenges include:

  • How to manage projects that involve partners with complimentary but nonetheless different missions, values, and priorities;

 

  • How to create system-level impacts even when your organization is a small part of that system;

 

  • How to measure success, report to donors, and control for first on projects that are so complex you can only figure out the way forward through trial and error.

Traditional methods for designing, managing, and measuring success on projects increasingly cannot stand up to these challenges. In fact, many traditional project management tools might actually be counterproductive when success is dependent on rapid learning, innovation, and coordination among many actors.

We are thrilled to be recognized for the second time as being among the companies creating the most positive overall impact on its customers based on an independent, comprehensive assessment administered by the nonprofit B Lab. Honorees are featured on B the Change, the digital Medium publication produced by B Lab, at https://bcorporation.net/2019-best-for-the-world-customers.

The Best For Customers list includes businesses that earned a Customer score in the top 10 percent of Certified B Corporations on the B Impact Assessment. The full assessment measures a company's impact on its workers, community, customers and environment.To certify as B Corporations, companies like Stone Soup must complete the full assessment and have their answers verified by B Lab.

The Customer portion of the B Impact Assessment measures the impact a company has on its customers by focusing on whether a company sells products or services that promote public benefit and if those products/services are targeted toward serving underserved populations. The section also measures whether a company’s product or service is designed to solve a social or environmental issue (preserving environment, creating economic opportunity for individuals or communities, or increasing the flow of capital to purpose-driven enterprises for example).

An overview of the seven year partnership project with the European Investment Bank Institute by Sophie Robin, co-founding partner, Stone Soup Consulting

Stone Soup Consulting has had the pleasure to collaborate with the European Investment Bank Institute for more than seven years now, ever since the Social Innovation Tournament (SIT) – a European wide contest awarding the best and most impactful innovations in Europe was established. During the first few years, Sophie Robin was a member of the Jury and acted as the President on various occasions. In order to allow for a healthy turnover of jury members, Sophie Robin offered to step down from her jury duties after five successful and effective years services.  

Stone Soup Consulting was then invited to participate in the pre-selection process of the following edition (2018). Sophie Robin and Maria Raurell reviewed more than 300 projects, and participated in the pre-selection of the fifteen finalists for that year's edition (check out this video with the winners).