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24 Ideas Key Information Unlocked

24 Ideas Key Information Unlocked

Earlier this month we welcomed a whole host of change makers to Magpie HQ as part of our ’24 Ideas for 2024′ creative retreat series. The goal for these interactive and uplifting sessions is to explore shared challenges and unlock new ideas to help us develop in our personal and professional lives – with each session addressing 6 challenges and unlocking 6 ideas. The energy in the room was electric, with some fascinating and insightful conversations taking place and new connections being made. Here are some of our key findings from the day:

Challenge 1: Combating Professional Fatigue

Idea 1: Breaking the Hamster Wheel

Our first session involved an exploratory discussion around the universal experience of professional fatigue. The concept of ‘burnout’ has become increasingly prevalent in a post-lockdown world, with a recent study noting that at least 79% of UK employees experience burnout, and around 35% reporting extreme or high levels of burnout (Spill 2024). The economic and health ramifications of this alarming statistic are a key focus for many in the wellbeing industry, with much attention being focussed on addressing the root causes. 

As part of our efforts to help attendees conquer their professional fatigue, we reflected on 2 key statements to generate ideas for tackling burnout if/when it arrives. These were:

Remember your roots – a useful grounding exercise in moments of internal doubt and exhaustion is to remind yourself the main reason you took on the challenge of your role in the first place. As change-makers focussed on supporting communities and delivering social impact, it can be helpful to reflect on what motivated you to get involved initially, and re-align your focus toward this. 

Don’t forget to look up! – Often there are repetitive elements to professional roles that, although important, can feel like they are detracting attention from areas of higher impact. The reality is that we can become myopic and focus only on the day-to-day activities without stopping to take stock of all the progress we have made along the way, and crucially, celebrate the successes. 

Attendees also shared other ways they personally combat professional fatigue, including; 

Despite the challenges of manoeuvring the modern working world, it’s crucial we all take the time to reflect, rest and recharge. The communities we’re supporting are relying on it. 

Challenge 2: Approaching and Understanding AI

Idea 2: Using AI as a Time and Energy Saver

The topic of AI has generated a huge amount of discourse online and in the media, with many users making grandiose claims about its application and outputs. There’s no doubt AI can have a transformative effect in saving time and energy, and the Magpie team were happy to provide a basic demonstration of some of the tools we have begun to explore:


Text based AI tools like ChatGPT and ChatPDF can be immensely helpful in increasing efficiency by condensing large amounts of information in simplified and digestible portions, tailored to our requirement. To effectively utilise these tools, it’s crucial to set the role, requirements, and task details, including the target audience and purpose. Additionally, specifying the tone, nature of the output, and any boundary conditions is essential. 

At Magpie, we use text-based AI for research purposes such as literature reviews, summarising, and quantitative analysis support, as well as some initial stage campaign development like idea generation. However, it’s important to acknowledge the limitations and constraints of text-based AI, including its reliance on the prompt provided, potential for generating inaccurate information, and limited knowledge base. 


Other tools such as Otter AI can save a lot of time and energy through developing speech to text transcription applications using artificial intelligence and machine learning. Whether you’re taking notes in a meeting or recording responses from a panel event, OtterAI can do some of the ‘leg work’ and allow you time to be more present in the moment. Throughout this demonstration, we explored challenges such as prohibitive costs for some AI tools, and a need to know the country of origin of the AI tool is important as not all organisations permit software from every location. We also discussed the link between utilising AI and GDPR policy and general work-place policy adherence. 

AI in Adobe

In a more creative sense, AI tools in Adobe can be applied to provide helpful edits to photography work such as re-sizing and re-formatting scale. It’s important to note that, whilst they may be helpful time and energy savers, these tools can never be a substitute for creative and design inspiration, but instead provide assistance in generating outputs more effectively. 

We also explored the use of AI in enhancing audio quality for video content – Adobe Enhanced Speech is an online artificial intelligence software tool by Adobe that aims to significantly improve the quality of recorded speech that may be badly muffled, reverberated, tinny, etc. and convert it to a studio-grade, professional level, regardless of the initial input’s clarity.

With proper understanding and guidance, AI can be a valuable tool in various contexts. Find out more about getting started with this beginners guide from Magpie.

Feedback from Faye Levi, Marketing Consultant at Faye Levi Marketing

Challenge 3: Preventing Stress and Exhaustion

Idea 3: Conquering the Night Self

Come the evening hour, the darkness, wrote Virginia Woolf, “we are no longer quite ourselves”.

In our session on “Preventing Stress and Exhaustion: Conquering the Night-Self,” we looked at the intricacies of sleep hygiene and nurturing a healthier nocturnal relationship with ourselves to enhance overall well-being.

Modern society presents a complex dynamic with sleep. On one hand, there’s a stigma surrounding ample sleep, often viewed as indulgent or unproductive compared to activities like exercise or healthy eating. Conversely, the growing awareness of sleep’s vital role in health can intensify anxieties and pressure to achieve perfect sleep patterns. During the interactive session, we navigated both perspectives – recognizing sleep’s significance while embracing the night-self and discovering personalised strategies. It’s crucial to recognize the nuances of sleep and insomnia, discovering what works best for each person. Sleep scientists have found that at night we reach an altered state of mind which is reflective, creative and vulnerable, allowing for new insights. Therefore, sleepless nights need not always carry negative connotations. By relinquishing self-judgement and the pressure for flawless sleep, we can harness the potential of our nocturnal consciousness for heightened creativity, insight, and introspection. By reframing our understanding of sleep, we pave the way for a healthier, sustainable relationship with it. Sleep serves myriad purposes, including emotional regulation, stress hormone reduction, mental health maintenance, rejuvenation, and cognitive enhancement. 

Sleep is foundational for our overall well-being, and behavioural science offers effective techniques to enhance both the duration and quality of our sleep. Two formal approaches are Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for Insomnia (CBT-I) and Behavioural Sleep Medicine (BSM). A structured approach rooted in CBT-I principles involves a three-step framework:

Cognitive Restructuring: This step involves identifying, challenging, and reshaping thoughts and beliefs that contribute to insomnia. By addressing negative thought patterns and replacing them with more constructive perspectives, you can alleviate sleep-related anxieties.

Stimulus Control: Creating an environment conducive to sleep is essential. This includes avoiding stimulating activities before bedtime and maintaining a bedroom that is simple and free from distractions. By associating the bedroom solely with sleep and relaxation, individuals can strengthen the connection between bedtime and restfulness.

Habit Formation: Establishing consistent sleep habits is key to improving sleep patterns. This involves setting and adhering to a regular sleep schedule, limiting time spent in bed to actual sleep, and practising good sleep hygiene rituals, such as engaging in calming activities before bedtime.

Creating a healthy relationship with sleep involves prioritising both the quantity and quality of rest necessary to reduce stress levels. However, it also requires reshaping our perception of our nocturnal selves. Rather than excessively pressuring ourselves to consistently attain perfect sleep, it’s crucial to appreciate the natural fluctuations in our nightly experiences and embrace the changes in our minds and bodies during the night. By doing so, we can foster a more balanced approach to sleep, prioritising self-care and personal growth and thus preventing stress and exhaustion.

Challenge 4: Influencing positive action through multi-sensory experiences

Idea 4: The psychology of music and wellbeing

Music Psychologist Dr Chrissie Harney discussed the power of music to improve the social, physical and emotional areas of our lives. The content for this session acted as an invitation for attendees to think about our music libraries in a way that works for us and the demands of our life through an engaging activity involving key models from the research area. 


Select one strategy and think of a song from your music library that applies:

Entertainment – creates a pleasant environment, happy feelings

Revival – strong energy renewal 

Strong sensation – intense experience such as musical chills

Diversion – forget unwanted thoughts 

Release – release negative emotions

Mental work – music for contemplation

Solace – comfort, acceptance when feeling sad

You can download the slides and resources here.

Feedback from Luke Lister, Graphic Designer at Eversheds Sutherland

Challenge 5: Collaborating with seldom-heard populations

Idea 5: Insights from community leaders

At Magpie we understand that community engagement and collaboration is fundamental in delivering campaigns with proven social impact, and we’re equally mindful of the significant role community leaders play in garnering insight from seldom heard groups. During this session we invited a panel of community leaders to reflect on their experiences and share their insights around how we can be better allies and provide platforms to lift up community voices. 

The panel was made up of expert representatives from The Bradford African Community, Freedom 4 Girls UK, and the Leeds Refugee Forum – led by Magpie Community Collaboration Manager, Michelle Budd. 

We discussed increasing poverty levels in the UK alongside an increased demand for services (Freedom 4 Girls reported a demand for over 8000 period packs in Leeds in 2023, a figure which has more than doubled in the last 2 years). We explored some of the challenges faced by vulnerable people seeking support – from language barriers precluding access to many of the basic requirements for a stable lifestyle; to the limited resources and restricted funding of key support organisations – the charity, Bradford African Community, recorded over 3000 drop-in meetings at their visitor centre were in regards to a query about an official piece of correspondence they had received. This ongoing cycle of destitution has trapped many of the most marginalised people in impossible circumstances, and the impact of this is not only felt in communities but also rests heavily amongst those charged with providing access routes and opportunities. “We can’t just close our doors, this support is desperately needed.”

Some of the ways we discussed helping organisations provide better support for community leaders and connect with seldom heard communities include:

One of the most important things for us is finding ways to reach seldom heard voices which can be a challenge because you can often find barriers that come along with this mission, and as Community Collaboration Manager here at Magpie I feel it’s imperative that these voices are heard, it matters, and we as a collective need to continue to find ways to help uplift and amplify those voices.

From our panel discussion and Q&A we hit upon some really interesting and important factors. Marginalisation, patriarchy, language barriers, health inequalities and poverty to name a few, all of which we take a bit more of deep dive into during the session.

It’s clear that trust is also an important element to reaching the people that need to be heard, you need to build on that – you cannot take it, intentions are not always seen immediately, whether they’re good or not, people who have been marginalised for whatever reason will need time to build their level of trust.

We are producing a mini-podcast and round-up of the panel discussion and can’t wait to share our key moments and takeaways with you. 

Thank you to Ali, Asumnani & Sarah for their time, openness and honesty throughout, we really appreciate it and all learned a lot from their wisdom.

Community Collaboration Manager

Challenge 6: Finding confidence during times of change

Idea 6: Understanding the confident leader within

In this session Magpie’s cofounder, Ged, shared an exercise courtesy of Common Purpose, a global non-for-profit organisation he is part of. Common Purpose is all about leading beyond boundaries and delivering transformative learning experiences for individuals and organisations who want to make a difference in their worlds, and the world around them. 

In this session, we looked at the areas and circumstances in our lives that require and/or test our confidence and reviewed our confidence levels in different situations in order to shape our confidence levels moving forwards. 

You can access this exercise and create your own confidence diagram here.

Access the full session content here

If you’d like to register your interest in attending the next 24 Ideas for 2024 event (online or in-person) please email

24 Ideas for 2024

Strengthen your campaign’s impact with community collaboration and lived experience

Strengthen your campaign’s impact with community collaboration and lived experience

At Magpie, ‘community collaboration’ is about knowing where our knowledge and expertise start and end. Working in partnership with those (clients, communities, services, influencers, practitioners, creatives, volunteers, leaders) who are experts in their local place in order to achieve greater impact together.

This includes collaborating with communities to co-create and launch campaigns together, understanding the strength of organisations in an area through Assets Based Community Development (ABCD), and working in partnership with local stakeholders, partners and influencers. Adding social value and creating new opportunities locally.

We are all about co-creation: fostering empathy, collecting ideas, structuring information together, learning about and understanding needs, and discovering solutions with our target audiences. Appreciating and learning from the lived experience of others and activating campaigns from the ground up.

So what do we mean by ‘lived experience’ and why is it so important?

Lived experience is very simply the first-hand experience that someone has, the knowledge they’ve gained through their exposure to, their participation or involvement in different life experiences.

Our Community Collaboration team is constantly out and about learning about people, and places and gaining first-hand accounts of the experiences of populations. This enriches our work and helps us understand the real-life impact of our projects. We capture this in many creative ways including case studies and real-life stories through photography, quotes, films, animations, art, diary entries, observations and testimonials – all of which paint a rich picture and add to our campaign strategies, key messages, calls to action, content and evaluations.

Here we have an example of how collecting public opinion using vox pops within specific demographics can inform and shape our proposal process, tapping into public opinion and allowing their voices to be heard.

Lived experience vox pops

Promoting lived experience as a key phase of our campaign strategy fuels our aims to make campaigns real and relatable. By tuning in to real-life stories, having social modelling and storytelling together – lived experience is very powerful when it comes to making those unique connections with a target audience, and the wider community around us.

This increases meaningful engagement and impact – ultimately making the goal of behaviour change more relatable to the people it serves and very importantly more achievable. Over time, we’ve perfected how we use lived experience to inspire populations to take action towards, or maintain, their desired behaviour.

For example – telling people to engage in Active Travel makes less impact than hearing from people who actually do it, their reasons, their motivations and their benefits.

These stories, taken from ‘Walk it. Ride it’ – a campaign to promote active travel for Leeds City Council, has been effective in inspiring more people to walk and cycle on their own journeys. At first glance, they look like stories that are easy to capture. However, it can take time to build rapport in a community, recruit willing participants, understand the stories that will and won’t work and find the location to capture footage or photographs. This one example involved asking lots of connections for callouts through local schools, and community hubs and posting on local social groups to get people to register their interest. We had to tap into some key networks of people to find people who may be interested. 

Planning for lived experience

It’s often necessary to navigate other people’s commitments, time schedules and levels of interest and therefore you have to be empathetic to the fact participants have their own lives going on and be aware of how much you are asking of them. There are many passionate participants out there who love to share their experiences in order to support others. This can be a reward in itself, but it is important to explore incentives as part of early conversations. Across our projects, incentives have included paid opportunities, work experience, training, CV references and certificates, celebration events, film premieres, community donations and vouchers. 

Even after 15 years of igniting and maintaining relationships, creating strong connections and developing our toolkits for promotion, incentivisation, permissions, ethics and safeguarding at Magpie, we have found collaborating with communities and gaining lived experience takes time, careful planning and commitment. We have found localising campaigns with lived experience gives a stronger chance of campaign advocacy and efficacy. 

Magpie’s principles for community collaboration

Is lived experience possible for more sensitive topics?

For some of our more sensitive topics such as gambling harms, suicide prevention and drug dependency, we have always managed to find advocates and champions for the campaigns. Through talking to those who have been impacted, we really do feel the depths of their despair and struggles, and we are conscious these kinds of conversations take time and respect – to actively listen, really give them that platform to tell their story and honour their story. This helps us truly understand the barriers faced by people living with first-hand experience of these challenges; how any situation can occur, and provides insight into the systems and social expectations we are confronting.

Depending on the topic, participants may not always want to be depicted in their stories and sometimes want to remain anonymous. However, this doesn’t mean their story can’t inspire more people. Our Painkillers don’t exist campaign has helped reduce high-dose opioid prescriptions by 54% and has become a national best practice campaign that relies heavily on anonymised stories to inspire positive action from prescribers and those who are (or have been) dependent.

What role can lived experience play during times of political or social instability?

Lived experience, hearing unheard voices and community collaboration are arguably more important during times of challenge or instability. Prior to the lockdown, we launched Looking out for our neighbours, a campaign we created to reduce loneliness and isolation and positively impact on the well-being of those in our communities by taking part in small neighbourly activities that make a big difference. By profiling the positive neighbourly acts of others as part of our lived experience strategy, we inspired over 50,000 residents within West Yorkshire to positively impact society – achieving PR Moments ‘Public Sector Campaign of the Year’ as a result. 

During lockdown, it wasn’t possible to promote interaction with neighbours, however, we could use the power of lived experience to bring people together during a time of uncertainty and international crisis, at the same time. We created this mini docu-series which reached thousands and gained regional and national media attention. Watch episode one as an example of how lived experience connected people and their experiences during a time when being together wasn’t possible: 

Our Neighbours: Episode One

Positive benefits of including Lived Experience

So why is lived experience important?

When we compare the impact of the 1200+ campaigns in our portfolio, we have found that the campaigns that integrate lived experience into the process see a better return on investment.

Lived experience inspires a more engaged population, is a gateway for open conversations around the change people want to see in their lives and celebrates diversity within populations. Target audiences connect with lived experience content on a human level, and find similarities to their own lives, in turn, this inspires positive change. Get in touch if you’d like to know how our Community Collaboration team can increase your impact.

Magpie launches exchange programme to create behaviour change for organisations

Magpie launches exchange programme to create behaviour change for organisations

What is Magpie Meets?

Magpie Meets is a new programme designed to help organisations understand how creative behaviour change practice can help you fulfil your aims and objectives. It works by what we call an added value behaviour exchange, not a sales pitch, to expand knowledge of change-making behaviours across a diverse range of populations.

How it works:

Step 1 – MEET:

Our first touch point is a video call or visit to discuss how it works and build a plan to fit your place, space and needs. We will ask questions that help develop the brief around change-making behaviours and your behaviour change aims. If you are unsure of what behaviours you would like to change, we can help with example cases.

Step 2 – BRIEF:

Magpie receives: Briefing to give background and context ahead of the exchange day to manage planning and expectations.

You receive: Briefing and agenda to help prepare your organisation

Step 3 – EXCHANGE:

The exchange consists of an immersion day including a tour of your organisation, a ‘getting to know each other’ conversation and an immersive activity or situation. We will learn about, and discuss, change-making leadership and behaviours to understand your operation and positively challenge.

Step 4 – EXPLORE:

In the exploration part of the day, we will run a workshop designed to understand ‘How creative behaviour change can help unlock potential and create positive impact for your organisation’. A series of predefined questions and exercises will guide us. You will be briefed and asked about your area of focus in advance.

Step 5 – APPRAISE:

You will be asked to assess the performance, value and quality of the behaviour exchange and the difference it has made to thinking and problem solving. We will follow up to exchange appraisals and feedback. We will also provide you with content, such as photos, videos and a blog about your behaviour exchange, should you wish to use them in your comms.

Step 6 – One of the following:

6a) Part ways: Goodbye and good luck – we’ll follow up to find how you got on.

6b) Collaborate: Opportunity to work together on this project or a future one.

6c) Mutual support: Find ways in which we can support one another to reach our goals.

6d) Training offer: Opportunity to provide training, workshops and more consultation.

What we have to offer:

Expertise exchange –

We will both meet with experts* from our organisations who bring a wealth of knowledge from different roles, sectors, operations and practice. Magpie Meets encourages us to challenge ourselves, to step out of our comfort zone and develop new change-making leadership skills. Meeting, exchanging ideas and sharing behaviour change practice means the programme nurtures a culture of true empathy and sharing expertise.

*An expert could work in any role at any level and is known for having or involving a great deal of knowledge or skill in a particular area.

Value & skills exchange –

For you: Through creative problem-solving practice and behaviour change knowledge exchange, you’ll have newfound perspectives and inspiration to build into your future workstreams.

For us: Through continuous, empathetic, immersive, accelerating, real-world learning and development and by sharing knowledge and skills for good, we will come away inspired and creatively recharged.

Collaborative exchange –

First and foremost, Magpie Meets… is an exchange programme and not a sales proposition. It gives us a chance to have a unique collaborative experience with another organisation and explore ways of working together in the future. We love nothing more than meeting new people and learning from their practice as well as idea hacking together.

Contact us about Magpie Meets…

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