Options Consultancy Services Ltd collaborated in a Knowledge Transfer Partnership with the Centre for Development Studies at Swansea University which led to new technical expertise and established a new business model for the company.

Impacts

  • The KTP partnership developed an innovative technical tool to promote research and evaluation – Participatory Ethnographic Evaluation and Research (PEER).
  • The KTP and the development of PEER have improved the company's competitive position significantly. The income generated is set to continue growing, and sales turnover as a result of the KTP has risen from £75,000 to £175,000.
  • Exports are anticipated to rise by £90,000 a year as a result of work done by UK consultants for the overseas offices.
  • Sales turnover is set to increase by £170,000.
  • The project succeeded in developing a new area of technical expertise and establishing a new business model for the company.
  • Greater technical knowledge has been embedded within the company, and systems and procedures have been enhanced to aid future innovation.

"The KTP has contributed significantly to the wider strategic positioning of the company as a knowledge-based, technical organisation. It's generated considerable interest amongst our clients and brought us new customers." (Todd Peterson, Managing Director, Options Consultancy Services Ltd)

About the research

Options Consultancy Services Ltd, a subsidiary of Marie Stopes International with a portfolio of over 700 heath and social sector assignments in more than 50 countries, collaborated in a Knowledge Transfer Partnership with the Centre for Development Studies at Swansea University. The aim was to develop an innovative research and evaluation product, enhance existing research and secure new business.

Options works in partnership with national governments, the private sector and academic institutions to improve the health and quality of life of poor and marginalised people. The organisation's work has expanded over the years to encompass the provision of expertise in a number of associated areas aimed at reducing poverty and health inequalities, including social protection, performance management, behaviour change and demand-side financing.

The organisation recognised the value of having an innovative technical tool to promote participatory research and evaluation. This new technical expertise was to be developed in-house and used for both consultancy and as a means of winning new business.

As a result of the KTP, a new research method - Participatory Ethnographic Evaluation and Research (PEER) - was investigated and developed. This method involves working with peer researchers who are drawn from a particular community and recruited to conduct a series of interviews with their peers - particularly useful when interacting with marginalised people who may fear collaboration with researchers outside their immediate community.