Today’s podcast is unlike any other podcast we’ve recorded before. That’s because we’ve got a special announcement to make about a ground-breaking innovative game changer in the ISO Standards landscape – the isology hub, which is due to be launched in May 2021.
Now, I’m recording this in April 2021, but I’d like to take you back to March 2020 to explain when and why my journey began with initiating this innovative online solution. I think it’s quite important to appreciate that this sort of innovation probably would have taken us three to four years to come up with. But COVID-19 has encouraged many organisations to think outside of the box, to think differently, and to look at sustainability in a very different way.
So, let’s go back to March 2020 and find out how the isology concept was born!
In March 2020, the UK like many other countries across the globe were thrown into lockdown, and life was turned upside down, as we were hit with a global pandemic. Little did we know…that life as we know it was never going to be quite the same again!
Now, at the time, we felt that we had the curve. Partly because we’d already been using Teams to have meetings online and to do internal audits, mostly with some of our international clients at Blackmores.
Many of you know me as the Managing Director of Blackmores (as well as the podcaster on the ISO Show). Blackmores is my primary business and very dear to my heart. I’ve been running that business for 15 years and immediately I was concerned about the welfare of our employees and clients, and like many other businesses thinking “Okay, so how are we going to best get through this?!”. We went into our BCP mode (Business Continuity Planning mode) and we actually shared a lot of that information on the ISO Show!
We felt that we owed it to our listeners and our clients at Blackmores to share examples of pandemic business continuity plans. And at the time, it was really well received! In fact, we didn’t realise until we did that how much of a wide global reach of listeners we had. It was amazing! We had people contacting us from Papua New Guinea, Kula Lumpur and places all across the globe saying “thank you this is great!” or “this is really helpful” because at the time, businesses were looking for reassurance as well. So, we were more than happy to provide the support.
Not long after that…
it was just before the Easter weekend, so April last year. We had a quarter of our clients cancel within the span of 10 days! Straightaway we thought ‘okay, this is going to affect us’. We quickly realised that a lot of our clients are in manufacturing or in the events industry, and they simply could not operate!
So, we had to shift gear…and adapt!
We had to change the way assessments were undertaken and the way we deliver our consultancy services to do it all remotely. That’s when I realised that actually…there is an opportunity for certification bodies to do part of their assessments remotely. Obviously, for some types of assessments this wouldn’t be applicable. But in many cases, I could see that there was a significant opportunity for us to reduce our environmental footprint and work remotely!
At that time, we were already creating eLearning courses, and there was some work taking place internally within our team on developing a learner profile. So, taking an individual from a grassroot level, with no knowledge whatsoever about an ISO standard, right through to professional status. So, work was already underway. When we looked at the possibility of offering our services online and after the research we did, we realised that actually, it would be really good if we could provide an online solution that all of our ISO show listeners could also access!
That was when the initial concept was born for creating a state-of-the-art online, learning and support membership.
This was made for organisations looking to not only achieve ISO certification, but also for those businesses that are already certified to ISO standards, but their system just isn’t working for them. They might be stuck in a rut…they’re stuck in the trenches there because there may be certain issues like a lack of engagement, leadership, or even compliance. So, I came up with this concept of creating an online membership platform so that it was accessible to all regardless of the industry, the location, the time zone, and to be able to provide the equivalent of a Netflix version of ISO standards support!
I had heard from a funding body, within the government in the UK, about an Innovate UK competition. This competition was all about helping businesses to be innovative and provide sustainability solutions as well and to help businesses through COVID.
It was then that the penny dropped…
I thought well, actually, why not go for it! If we win it, we win it. If we don’t, then we don’t! So, I put together a business plan and got a lot of advice from a European enterprise network and put together a bid for this competition.
There were actually three rounds to it! Let’s find out how they went…
So, round one…
I hadn’t done anything like this before and it had taken weeks to put together that bid. We found out about a month later…that we had failed! But only by a very slim margin, which was very frustrating. But this encouraged me, particularly as a result of the positive comments from the assessors, that assess the application, saying that there was quite a bit of mileage in this innovation.
Now onto the next round…
The deadline for the second round was only two days after we got the feedback from the first round. My advisor said “you know there isn’t much point in rushing this, you want to spend time to get this absolutely perfect, so that you can absolutely smash it at round three”. This was the final bite of the cherry…it was a last chance saloon. I thought well…if we get it, we get it, and this is going to be a game-changer. If we don’t, that’s it.
Fortunately…we won the competition; we won the funding!
There are five different assessors from all sorts of different industries that recognise this as being a game-changer in our field. They believe it could have a significant positive impact on the environment. Because our MVP (minimum viable product) is a part of this membership platform and is all about environmental management standards. So, we’ve been working hard over the last few months to bring together this MVP, and we’re due to launch it in May 2021. It’s going to be called the isology hub and it’s based on isology methodology…which is ultimately seven steps to implementing any ISO standard!
Now, I’m sure you’re wondering…who is isology for?
This membership platform is for anybody who needs to achieve ISO certification. This might be because you need to win a tender, or you just want to raise standards within your business, or you may have stakeholders that are demanding that you provide some type of commitment in some area, whether it be sustainability or information security. It’s also for those people that have spent countless frustrating hours trying to understand how an ISO standard could actually be interpreted within their business. It’s also for those people who have an ISO management system…but it’s archaic. It was written in the dark ages! And it doesn’t bear any resemblance to how you operate as a business right now. In effect, it’s working against you. So, you need some type of solution to revamp it, give it a makeover, getting engagement and in making sure that it is a system that helps you to build success for the future of your business.
It’s also for those of you that would like to integrate other standards into your existing management system. So, you might be looking at cloud security standards, or carbon neutrality standards. So, it’s for those businesses that are already working hard to raise standards within their business, but they want to go the extra mile…they want to go above and beyond, and they need the systems, tools, templates, eLearning and guidance to help them to do that. It’s also for those individuals that would like to achieve qualifications in ISO standards to improve their knowledge and to support career development as well.
So, what we’re trying to avoid here is having any overly technical and expensive training courses. You can access it whenever you want, from wherever you want. It’s a place for organisations to learn how to achieve ISO standards, and also to get gameplans for raising their game. It’s packed with in depth, practical training and resources on all aspects of planning, creating and managing a successful ISO system.
Now, we have also created an ISO standards blueprint, which is a free download for you to get access to, if you come over to the isology hub website. All you need to do is Google www.isologyhub.com and you’ll be able to download your free ebook on how to plan, create and manage a successful ISO system ready to get you certified
And that applies to all ISO standards!
Now, I’m sure you must be thinking…what makes isology hub so different?
Well, this is a ground-breaking approach. It’s the quickest and easiest way to get ISO certification that gets results. But it’s not just about the accolade of getting certification through your certification body, but having that results driven, systemised way of managing your business, to give you that freedom and time so that you can grow your business.
It also gives access to expertise. Over the last 15 years, we have implemented ISO standards for hundreds of organisations across the 19 standards and over 25 different countries. So, you’re actually tapping into over 200 years of combined experience now (that’s not me personally obviously) that’s our team! It’s our team that’s helped put this together. All our intellectual property and all of the work that we’ve been doing over the years to support businesses in all industries is going to be put together in the isology hub. That’s where you can get access to that.
And, of course, we walk the talk…
We have done this time and time again. These are the proven concepts. Isology and the seven steps have been put to the test and it’s been successful…time after time!
And we are pretty straight talking!
We are very friendly, very approachable and we want that to come across with the membership platform. So, you’ll be able to listen to our tutorials and join us for our monthly live Q&A sessions if you’ve got any questions or if you’d like to discuss anything at all to do with ISO standards.
Ultimately, we live and breathe ISO standards…you get our full commitment, and you get that team behind you through the membership portal.
But I must say…the isology hub isn’t for everybody!
If you simply want to tick a few boxes and get the badge…this isn’t the right solution for you. If you want to go down the non-accredited certification body route…it’s not for you. And If you’re looking for ISO in a box so you don’t have to do any work at all…it’s not for you either. It’s also not for you if you’re expecting guaranteed results. That’s because it is down to you to put the effort in to actually make it happen. Although we’ve got 100% success rate in helping our clients get through certification because we’ve helped to do a lot of the work with them, the membership portal is there to guide and support you…so you have to put the work in yourself. The templates, tutorials, guidance, action plans are all provided for you. But you do need to spend the time to actually completing them and implementing them within your business.
One of the things that we’re passionate about at Blackmores is acting responsibly and doing the right thing. With having an online system, we are donating for every new member that joins the isology hub.
This will be done through B1G1 (buy one, give one!)
We will tackle climate change and poverty, one member at a time. The project we have selected is in Madagascar. Unfortunately, Madagascar is a country in crisis. 70% of the country lives in poverty and half of its rainforest has been eradicated due to the strain of population growth in the country. So, we’ve picked out a project whereby we can support the planting of trees and also provide sustainable agriculture training as well so that the communities are self-sufficient. This will enable them to send their children to school to be educated. We’ll also have a live widget on the isology hub website. So that we can see our STG goals are updated whenever a new member joins!
Now let’s get back to isology!
There is a wealth of information in there, and it’s not just about documents…we’ve got a unique roadmap that’s been trademarked, and this is based on our seven-step isology concept! We’ve provided an ISO roadmap for ISO 14,001 for the launch. This will take you through everything that you need to do to get ready for an assessment for ISO 14,001. It also provides everything that you need for an environmental management system, even if you don’t want to go for certification! So, how to create an environmental policy, what to look for in terms of creating your objectives, how to identify your environmental aspects and impacts, and how to launch your management systems…it takes you through the seven steps. In addition to that, we’ve also given you access to our eLearning courses. A lot of the learning is through videos, to action plans, guiding you step by step through your ISO roadmap. We also include checklists workbooks, cheat sheets, and templates, as well, to support you. So, some examples of those could be a launch communications planner, or even an email launch sequence and templates to go with it. Things like internal audit scheduled templates, report templates, samples of policies and procedures and so on. As I said it’s not ISO in a box, these are just examples of best practice. And we guide you through creating your own documentation for your own bespoke management system. And, of course, we’ve got our live Q&A’s, feel free to join us for those live Q&A’s within the membership, or we can answer any questions that you’ve got.
The other thing that we’re really excited about launching as well is our ISO coach programme!
We’re conscious of the fact that some businesses might just want to join the membership and get on and do it all themselves. Or they might need some guidance and support. There is an upgrade available, which is the ISO coach programme and that’s a six-month programme, where you’ll be part of a small group of up to seven other individuals. On a fortnightly basis, you will have group coaching sessions on the seven steps. Then on the alternate fortnight’s, you can book one-to-one sessions with your ISO coach to go through and discuss any queries concerns or review documents that you’ve created, just to help you on your journey and make sure that you stay on track as well. This programme does start at specific dates! The next date that we’ve got starting will be the 2nd of June. So, if any of you are interested in joining the ISO coach programme, please do get in touch with us!
Because the isology hub is new, we would absolutely love to hear about any suggestions or ideas on content that you’d like to include within the isology hub. Every single month we’ll be adding new content, whether it’s an ISO roadmap for implementing another ISO standard. So, I’d be delighted to hear from you and also to answer any questions that you might have about the isology hub.
So regardless of whether you’re just starting out on your ISO journey, or you’ve already got a system in place but just want to raise your game that bit further, we would love for you to join us as a member on the isology hub!
Thanks very much for listening and I look forward to catching up with you on the next ISO show!
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