collective voice

Thanks for dropping by our blog page. Our team of over 60 full-time experts use the latest thinking in behavioural design and enablement via our people-shaped methodology to Make Better Happen for individuals, organisations and communities. Our specialisms of applied behavioural insights, design through co-creation and leading-edge social marketing and engagement are at the core of all that we do. Our mission is to be part of a society that is well, confident and resilient. If we can help you take a journey to be your best self, please call us on 0845 5193 423 - our promise to you is that we never settle for second best.

An ICE experience - our values

October 18, 2018 16:53

At ICE, our mission is to make better happen for individuals, communities and organisations. Our values permeate throughout ICE and inform every decision – big or small. From ideation sessions and administration to delivery and evaluation, our values are our guiding principles.

When they’re done right, values can serve as an organisation’s anchor. During times of celebration, change and challenge, they remain constant and are truly representative of an organisation’s lived behaviours.

So, what are our values and how are they reflected in our lived behaviours?

“Passion at ICE runs high – in all the best ways! All our team live and breathe Passion in everything we do. We get a thrill from bringing our expertise to get the very best results for our clients every time. Passion for us is about commitment – a commitment to ‘make better happen’ for organisations, individual people and communities – and that commitment doesn’t stop at the 9-to-5. Even outside working hours, we’re thinking, working, researching, travelling and going above and beyond to help our clients meet and exceed their goals. I love the buzz across the ICE team as we take on every new challenge that comes our way, with enthusiasm, energy and determination. Personal success is a great thing, but success driven by united passion with colleagues and clients working towards a shared goal is remarkable. Passion in numbers can truly change lives for the better – and that’s the best feeling ever!”

-          Marie Broeders, Senior Change Practitioner

“Within the digital team, fairness is important on many levels. It is vital to us that we are building products which are of value, not only to our partners but also to the wider population. These products need to be simple to use and to each user’s benefit. Moreover, we need to ensure that all users can access our products. Accessibility is a key priority within ICE, and we build digital that is inclusive and accessible to all. The open and democratic nature of ICE lends itself to a culture of fairness to each other, to ICE, to our partners and, most importantly, to our users. We strive to make everything we create the very best it can be, and this ethos is reflected across our 5 specialisms of applied behavioural insights, design and system thinking, communications and engagement, leadership and culture and integrated lifestyle services.”

-          Chris Ashton, Chief Technology Officer

“For me, Integrity is part of our DNA - it has to be; it runs through ICE like blood in our veins. ICE have grown year on year during the last 19 years and we have done this through bringing our all and everything to each new opportunity. We bring Integrity by showing honesty, consistency and high standards to every piece of work - big or small, old or new - because without it we wouldn't be being true to our ethos.”

-          Sarah Jackson, Bid Manager

'Are we being brave?'

"As a trusted partner across the health and care system, we know that briefs are there to be challenged. We adopt the role of a ‘critical friend’. Refusing to come from a place of assumption, we use applied behavioural insights to understand what’s important to individuals, communities and organisations. Once this fundamental truth has been established, we are able to facilitate meaningful and sustainable change. Bravery at ICE comes through daring to do things differently, challenging ourselves and others, early adoption of innovative technologies and methodologies and having no fear."

-          Jane Cryer, Director of Organisational Development and Leadership

“To me, creativity goes way beyond the look and feel of a campaign, product or experience. It’s also about adding value to any task or idea and doing so in a way that takes a lot of factors into account. Working in finance, people don’t necessarily associate creativity with my field of expertise. In fact, we use creativity every day to solve problems, maintain standards and develop new processes. At ICE, we have a massive culture of shared learning – it’s a bit like having a pool of expertise that you can dip into at any time. We’re curious by nature. Sharing best practice and exploring how things can be as efficient and effective as possible is a massive part of my role, and it’s a pleasure to work within an organisation whose purpose is so aligned to my personal values.”

-          Ellie Connolly, Finance Practitioner

“You can’t spell ICE Creates without SUCCESS. Whilst that’s not technically true, expectations of success are built into the DNA of ICE. We get what we expect, and we expect what we get. At ICE, we are positive and expect success to Make Better Happen. Success means adding value and having collaborative and compassionate working relationships with our clients and each other. Success means achieving our targets and outcomes for our clients and for ICE. Success means taking ownership of tasks and sharing what great looks like. Success means having fun, smiling and being the best you can be. Success means never accepting second best. At ICE, we know that our success depends on each individual succeeding in their mission. Everyone in our team comes together to help each other to be successful. At Healthy Lifestyles Gloucestershire, we depend on each other and the wider ICE family so we can complete our mission successfully, and we’re on track for our most successful year yet 🚀”

-          John Russell, Director of Healthy Lifestyles Gloucestershire

On World Values Day, take a minute to think about what’s important to you. We believe that we all have a role to play in creating a society that is well, resilient and confident, and there is no better time than now for us all to step up and play our part.

Culture really does eat strategy for breakfast

April 11, 2018 15:19

Recently, I have been struck with the famous saying by the late and globally revered management and organisational development expert Peter Drucker – ‘Culture eats strategy for breakfast.’ At ICE, our clients often ask us to support the development of leaders’ capability, as well as supporting teams to be more effective, and to implement new ways of working. Once we understand the initial presenting problems or requirements, we then start to explore the organisational culture – essential in ensuring that all organisational change is effective and sustained.

After a long intake of breath and a slow sigh, more often than not, leaders will then start to describe a reality that is very different from the values that are proudly displayed on their walls and banners. We come across situations where there are legacies of previous organisations, which are integrated only in name. Often, staff will still describe belonging to one tribe or the other. Other common situations include a lack of confidence to act, with staff referring-up and permission seeking for fear of ‘getting it wrong’, managers describing a lack of accountability and staff speaking of forever changing goalposts, staff not feeling safe to speak out when there are serious problems. Without the security to speak up safely, serious problems that are affecting staff, customers or patients – that are not right and should not be tolerated – can lay dormant until they manifest in disastrous ways. You may recognise some of these situations in your own organisation or team.

We work with managers, leaders and organisations to be able to safely and clearly describe what is going on with their culture, to find a common language to describe and value the different perspectives that create the culture, and to envisage in a practical way what the desired future culture could and should be. This co-creation process - engaging and involving a wide range of staff groups, including those who may be finding the culture most challenging - helps to develop commitment and ownership in shaping a different future. By exploring what is needed, what is getting in the way, current behaviours and the behaviours that are required, we are then able to begin developing a cultural road map. This map includes milestones that people will be able to measure progress against, as well as the resources that will be required, or obstacles or roadblocks that need to be overcome. This can be described in a written report, but using facilitated graphic visualisation means that the image created gives everyone a clear road map; they can check, hold others to account and measure their own personal culture change in line with their map.


Energy for change is key, both at personal and organisational levels. People often notice energy by its absence, where people may be willing, prepared to commit to doing things differently, but describe ‘not having capacity or bandwidth’ to engage, feeling exhausted or burnt out, or where people for whatever reason do not want to engage, full stop! For some, they are more preoccupied with survival, dealing with challenging rather than functional relationships and uncertainly in their self-esteem each day. This lack of energy or deficit inevitably gets in the way, stopping people being able to engage in thinking about ‘doing things differently’ or organisational transformation.

Being able to measure available energy at personal, team and organisational level helps to ‘name it’ in an objective way – one which enables the safe conversations including ‘what do we need to do next to address and support a positive culture?’ To enable this, we use a simple and effective tool – Culture Map. Developed based on Barrett's work on levels of consciousness, Culture Map takes less than 10 minutes to complete. It asks 3 questions, choosing 10 words to best describe three scenarios – your personal preferences, your current experienced culture and your desired future culture. Each of the chosen words translates to an energy level, and helps to quickly pinpoint where energy is within individuals. There may be limiting or negative energy or entropy that gets in the way of change, or there may be higher level positive energy, with less energy deficit creating a more positive environment for change – both at personal and organisational levels.

Understanding the energy - both negative and positive - at a granular level enables and opens up a different conversation about ‘what we need to do to address, support and enable change.’  It pinpoints and identifies specific issues, enabling more targeted and impactful interventions. When combined with the future culture road map, this creates engagement and ownership with staff, teams, managers and leaders and clear direction.

It is often said that ‘Cultural change is a journey’ - often long and demanding, full of surprises and unexpected twists and turns. In our ‘real lives’, we wouldn’t set out on a journey without having some sense of our destination, and possible options on routes (even if reliant on Sat Nav and Google Maps!), and we would know why we were venturing out and the benefits of travelling, if only to see our world from a different place.

Surely then, it is vital that when leading our people and organisations through cultural change, we must be equipped with a known or co-created destination. We must always understand ‘why’ and ‘what’ we want to be different as a result of any change, and we must have the stamina and energy to sustain the trip – with surplus energy created to enjoy the change along the way!

So it is true, culture does eat strategy for breakfast – make sure you have had your breakfast!

As behavioural change specialists, we work with a number of NHS organisations, local authorities and place-based systems and organisations to support organisational and culture change. If you would like to know more about what makes the difference and how ICE can help your organisational and culture change to be relevant, effective and sustained, please do get in touch with me on 0794 1289 999

We’d be happy to share the insight from our experience and understand what matters to you. Our approach is innovative, engaging, evidence-based and effective. You will feel like you’ve had 3 Wheetabix - energised and equipped to lead your cultural change journey.

 - Jane Cryer

Purpose driven STPs will be the strongest - how to mobilise your partnership to ensure your STP will sustain and deliver the outcomes

November 22, 2016 16:57

As the STPs for the whole of England start to emerge, the real work now begins. The work to be done has to be different, because we need different outcomes from the journeys that have gone before.  One thing is clear, however, whichever your area: this is the last chance to get things right.

You are going to have to DO things differently, BE different and give some things up – but where do you start? You will need lots of different players and everyone has a role to play. How do you enable and align your players to be integrated teams, to put your STP into reality?

Did you know: values-driven organisations are the most successful organisations on the planet and while your leaders set the vision and mission, your values and culture belong to everyone? How can you engage everyone in defining, living and breathing those essential values that will drive your new journey of successful transformation?

A good place to start is here at ICE. Our tried and tested approach uses the latest in behavioural design, working with individuals’ rational and emotional self, to create purpose and impact. Don’t be scared by the science – in practice the approach is very simple and straightforward and, with our help, you will:

  • Define the culture and values you will be working with as a system
  • Define the role of each player in your system
  • Realise and value the differences of all your players
  • Define what is important to your system and the people in it
  • Ensure all activity is aligned
  • Decide what to do more of and what you can gain by giving some things up.

ICE’s unique, cost effective and proven methodology has helped numerous organisations and multi-sector partnerships to successfully deliver culture and leadership transformations – delivering efficiencies and cost savings, increasing quality and morale, satisfaction and outcomes on behalf of staff, customers and patients.

We are currently working with a number of Vanguard sites, STPs, NHS, local authorities, charities, and private sector organisations, using our bespoke and tailor made platform to engage all players as one team with many players. Through true co-creation, we will enable you to harness all players in your system and together determine why, how and what to do things differently, mobilising your teams in a united approach, with all players empowered, valued and driven to achieve whole system change and better experiences and outcomes for patients.

We use techniques and ways of working which support the limbic and rational system for leaders and teams alike. Better still, this approach works equally well for patients, clinicians, social care and elected members. Our foundations for engaging are strengths based asset building systems. So, we always start with ‘What matters?’ and ‘What’s important to you?’  We work with people’s emotional self and their rational self, using metaphor and story-telling to create social epidemics of tipping point transformation.

Call ICE today on 0845 5193 423 to arrange an informal conversation over tea or coffee. Starting with the simple question “What’s important to you?” you share, we listen and together we embark upon a new and exciting journey towards successful and sustainable transformation.

How confident are you that your employees live your brand?

May 9, 2016 15:52

Do you spend countless hours devising the best strategy with your citizens, customers and clients - only to find that your messages are completely lost at key 'touch points' in your relationships?

Marketing leaders across the world will all tell you that your brand or campaign is far more than a corporate identity or logo.

Your brand promise comes to life everyday in the interactions between your teams, stakeholders and customers.

What matters to them as individuals is fundamental in how they ‘share your story’. Broken down, this includes the values and beliefs they hold and the level of affinity they have with what your organisation stands for: your purpose, your reason to exist.

So, the challenge is, do you wait to find out that your brand promise is being broken through customer feedback, a staff survey or social media? Or do you take a proactive approach and tackle it head on?

At ICE Creates, we specialise in understanding people. To truly unpack and capture an individual’s beliefs and values, we always start with their why. Why do they think and behave the way they do?

Our Brand Map tool is a quick and easy way to implement an internal assessment of your brand, and the process is very simple:

Step one: define your purpose, your proposition to the outside world and the values that you would like to see played out across your organisation every day. You should already have this, of course!

Step two: ask your team to complete a survey specifically designed to uncover the truths behind their behaviours and actions. Get specialist help to craft the questions so you can unlock employee values in a subtle and constructive way.

Step three: compare how employee values align with your brand values. Our Brand Map tool’s evaluation metrics and recommendations will highlight areas of alignment and disruption so that you will know where ‘on brand’ staff can make a more significant difference to your organisational success.

An assessment like this will provide you with the confidence that you are making the most of your marketing budget; you will be more distinctive, more engaging and build better relationships, and chances are you will build strong staff engagement and productivity along the way, too.

You can join other leaders from social housing, not for profits and the NHS who are already working with us to build their brands through their people.

Talk to Heidi King to find out more about how we can help you on 0788 5712 321 or at

How do you baseline your organisation's culture and strengthen its future?

April 5, 2016 15:55

Measuring the culture of your organisation can be a difficult challenge. How can you define such a multifaceted subject that spans the whole of your organisation?

Standard staff surveys offer a certain degree of insight into how individuals perceive your organisation or what they’d like to see done differently, but their offer does not stretch much further than this. By their nature, they are unable to give you a sense of whether people are aligned to or believe in your values.

From delivering culture and leadership transformations, ICE knows that a culture’s DNA consists of underlying beliefs, values and behaviours. It is essential that we dive deep into these factors to explore how they shape the current culture.

As well as unpacking and understanding the positive values and behaviours an individual exhibits, it is essential that you also discover any potentially limiting factors.

Through continuous learning, ICE has developed a simple, cost-effective starting point which enables organisations to explore and capture their culture – both in a current state and a desirable future state.

Using a model framed around Maslow’s ‘Hierarchy of Need’, we are able to differentiate positive and any potentially negative elements of your culture, while also establishing how your staff sit within the 7 levels of need.

Supported by our organisational development experts, our complete organisation overview will provide you with the professional guidance and support to address concerns and enhance strengths. This gives you the best chance of establishing a truly values-driven organisation.

To talk through how we can work with your organisation or for more information on our culture mapping offer, contact Simon Platt on 07583 049 603 or at