A Quick Glance Back Before We Take a Great Leap Forward
As is customary at the end of the year it is time to reflect on the many highs and lows we have experienced over the last 12 months. This year we have reached the highs of seeing PROBE provide best practice support through initiatives in countries and regions that we have never been to before, new and improved ‘flavours’ of PROBE, the launch of our new website, a thriving and lively community on LinkedIn and a significant growth in the number of members of the PROBE Network. Of course for every high there are lows and we experienced the lowest of lows recently with the loss of our friend and one of the driving forces of PROBE, Gerry Oates.
Overall, despite the challenges of the unpredictable economies, particularly in Europe and America, 2011 has been a good year for those of us who believe that improved business performance comes from the adoption of best practice. Over the last twelve months we have seen PROBE support new business improvement initiatives in South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, United Arab Emirates, France, and parts of the USA, among others, and national and state organisations in Australia, Brazil, Ireland and Canada have renewed or enhanced their usage of PROBE. 2011 also saw PROBE’s contribution to the work of the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) strengthen and expand, and UNIDO provided us with our end of year cheer by confirming their plans to expand the work they are currently doing with PROBE in Africa to other countries around the world.
2011 saw the release of the new and improved PROBE for Sustainable Business (PSB). In addition to improvements to the original version of this PROBE ‘flavour’ we saw the release of new ‘Lite’ and ‘Standard’ versions both of which have been well received by PROBE’s Sustainability-focused users. Wherever an organisation is on its sustainability journey, there is now a PROBE diagnostic tool ready to support them on to the next stage. In fact the idea of ‘Lite’, ‘Standard’ and ‘Advanced’ versions of PROBE is proving so popular that we have plans to expand the three tier system to some of the other tools in 2012.
PROBE for Sustainable Business also gave us the opportunity to embed a new expansive PROBE model into our outputs and report templates. This allows users to examine the data in new ways and express the findings with new and improved graphical outputs. Again, what started in PSB will flow to the other flavours of PROBE. This new PROBE framework and the new style graphs have already become part of the PROBE for Small Business tool which is playing a significant role in the work UNIDO are currently expanding across Africa.
Over the last 12 months the PROBE Network User Community has grown. We are very close to having 100 PROBE users from all over the world in the PROBE LinkedIn Group, many of whom actively participate in sharing experiences and ideas and improving PROBE products and services. Our ‘Tweets’, whilst still being too infrequent, are being followed by an increasing number of business improvement professionals.
For every success that 2011 has brought we must not sit on our laurels and assume 2012 will be the same. There are still so many things for us to do. We, the core team at the hub of the PROBE Network, will continue to develop our social networking and increase our communications with PROBE Network members in a more frequent and meaningful way. The Promoting Business Excellence Linkedin Group will become an ‘open’ forum before the end of this year thus widening the discussions beyond the existing PROBE facilitators. The next 12 months will see some significant improvements to the existing PROBE tools, the first of which will be a new ‘Lite’ version of PROBE for Manufacturing set for release early in 2012. Our PROBE Network family is set to grow further in 2012. PROBE facilitators in Cameroon, Iraq, Vietnam, Greece, France and the Netherlands will be joining us shortly and they will be followed by other new PROBE users from across the Globe as the year progresses.
Finally, a review of the past 12 months wouldn’t be complete without thanking all PROBE facilitators and supporters for their continued efforts to develop the Network and get the benefits of PROBE into businesses and organisations all over the world. Thank you for your contributions during 2011 and we look forward to seeing even more of you in 2012.
A Happy New Year from all at PROBE Network.
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