mKTP will use the university’s latest academic thinking and research to shape unique organisational culture project in order to improve tenants’ quality of life through innovative engagement and community-centric partnership models, significantly enhancing community wealth and area regeneration.
The partnership is a joint two-year project uniting Liverpool-based housing association Cobalt Housing with an expert team of academics from four departments at LJMU – including the School of Psychology, Liverpool Business School, School of Built Environment, and the Data Science Research Centre.
Together, the partnership covers multiple strands of tenant, community, and regeneration research and innovation.
The mKTP, given its multi-disciplinary nature, is one of the first in the UK and the first in LJMU’s history, as the project is led by the School of Psychology. Until recently, only business schools were able to lead on similar projects.
The academics involved will work across disciplines and align thinking to the real-world application for Cobalt Housing.
Cobalt says the project will be critical in helping it achieve its key strategic aims:
- To “provide quality places to live” and “play our part in developing thriving communities where people are proud to live and can be their best”
- To be a “sector leading community-based housing provider, creating value for stakeholders and wider community, establishing business sustainability and nationally recognised brand identity”
- To understand its tenants’ needs, so to improve their lived experiences, quality of life, and “community wealth”
Cobalt says the mKTP will be instrumental in transforming its organisational culture by creating and embedding organisational skills and competencies, sustainable internal procedures, infrastructure, and know-how that will allow the organisation to implement its strategic vision and understand individual needs.
Alan Rogers, chief executive at Cobalt Housing, said: “Now, more than ever, we need to understand what services people will want in the future and how they will access them.
“It will allow us work with academics from across LJMU to develop our staff and tenants in an innovative fashion, bringing support and expertise from health, business, and the built environment.
“This groundbreaking work will allow us to combine valuable research with practical delivery that will bring improvements to people, places, and help us develop an effective partnership approach to deliver lasting change.”
The project objectives will support the transformation through an initial data analysis and assessment of business operations and stakeholder relationships, then use these insights to create a model to transform internal structures, strategic capabilities, and workforce development.
This scalable and transferable model will help to deliver Cobalt’s vision to be a sector-leading housing service provider; engaging in community development to enhance the company brand and future business value; demonstrate an improvement in the quality of life of Cobalt’s tenants through innovative engagement and community-centric partnership models; and significantly enhance community wealth and area regeneration.
The mKTP will develop new sustainable leadership, coaching, and management skills across the company – as well as new internal processes and infrastructure to support the new culture.
Knowledge embedded across the organisation will deliver both ongoing growth and the ability to move into new markets in order to provide training and consultancy across the sector, sharing expertise, and developing new streams of revenue.
Building support networks
Dave Woods, director of Operations at Cobalt Housing, said: “In many ways, this project couldn’t have come at a better time, as we face many more challenges now than we did before the pandemic began.
“But one thing is clear: the resilience of our communities has never been more important.
“The challenges we have encountered over the past year have seen so many changes to the way we live, work, and socialise, and this collaboration with LJMU and Innovate UK will help us to address challenges we don’t even know exist yet.
“It will allow Cobalt to build the network of support needed to meet future challenges head on and play its part in supporting the recovery well into the future.
“And I am sure that Cobalt, LJMU, and our communities won’t be the only beneficiaries from this work – it will also see us work closely with key agencies to tackle some of the challenges we share.”
Kieran Timmins, chair of the Cobalt Housing board, said: “I’m absolutely delighted that two Liverpool anchor organisations will be working together in North Liverpool to deliver innovation straight from the research lab to our tenants and neighbourhoods.
“We can then assess the effectiveness in an academically rigorous way using all the expertise that LJMU can bring.”
Dr Lisa Newson, programme leader at the MSc Health Psychology at LJMU, said: “Working with local business to improve our communities is at the heart of what we do at LJMU.
“I’m looking forward to partnering our friends at Cobalt Housing in applying some of the latest research to solve their problems and improve their organisational culture.”
As members of Low Carbon Homes’ Advisory Group, Dave Woods and Dr Lisa Newson are joining partners and peers including Liverpool City Council, Torus, Sovini, and Riverside Housing to speak at ‘Low Carbon Homes’ on 21st January.
THe online-only event aims to bring together professionals from inter-related sectors to collaborate and consider the scale of the UK’s retrofitting challenge, the solutions available, and the barriers to overcome.
Image: Cobalt Housing Office/Shutterstock
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