The Group and Organisation Future of Conservation Survey (GO-FOX): March 2018 blog entry

21st March 2018

Building on the success of the Future of Conservation Survey, and responding to demand from potential users, this project will develop a new tool that enables conservation organisations better to understand the values held by their staff, and to use this knowledge to inform their organisational culture, development and conservation strategies.

For further information, please visit the project page on the CCI website.

The following blog is written by Dr Chris Sandbrook, Senior Lecturer in Geography and Director of the MPhil in Conservation Leadership, Department of Geography, University of Cambridge (Project Lead)

March 2018 interim blog entry

The GO-FOX project is going well and is at an exciting stage of development. We are on track with our time plan, which is encouraging for a project on a tight 12-month schedule. So far, we have held a very successful inception workshop with potential users and run several pilots with potential users. These have included NGOs (Ol Pejeta Conservancy, WWF UK and WWF Global Science team), and universities (Cambridge MPhil in Conservation Leadership and an Edinburgh University module in Conservation Science). Excitingly, we have continued to be contacted by potential future users who are interested in using the tool. These include Natural England, Scottish Natural Heritage, the University of Helsinki, Bangor University and Lancaster University. A colleague at Edinburgh University even used our survey to test the impact of their conservation teaching and wrote a blog about it (!

The project team hosted a consultation workshop with potential future users of the GO-FOX tool on 13 September 2017. The workshop was attended by eight individuals (as well as the project team), representing eight organisations (see photo, above). The main aim of the workshop was to present ideas for the GO-FOX tool to potential users in order to get their feedback and ideas, which could then be incorporated into the design of the tool from the beginning. There was a lot of positive feedback regarding the potential value of the tool, and some great ideas on how to take it forward.

Behind the scenes the GO-FOX website is taking shape. The team at UNEP-WCMC have developed a full wireframe for the site, and created the functionality to make it possible to translate the site into multiple languages. We also have preliminary results from pilot testing of the GO-FOX tool, which suggest that users are finding it very helpful. We will be incorporating feedback from these users as we refine and develop the final tool ready for launch. 

We are delighted that our project member Janet Fisher has been awarded Impact Acceleration Account funding by the University of Edinburgh, which is allowing her to employ an Impact Developer to help develop communications and outreach products for GO-FOX. We are also delighted that Dr Aidan Keane, also from the University of Edinburgh, has joined the project team. Aidan has been working on analysis of the Future of Conservation Survey results, so it makes a lot of sense for him to be involved in both projects. 

The experience of collaborating together has been very good so far. The team has held regular meetings, sometimes involving all partners and sometimes smaller groups. For the last few months the team has been working in subgroups on different elements of the project. We are getting together for a whole team meeting in late March. We have had regular communication by email between meetings, which has gone well so far. It has certainly helped us that each member of the team has worked with at least one other member before, so the project is building on some well-established collaborative relationships, even while it is doing something quite new and innovative. 

Over the next six months we plan to launch the GO-FOX tool online. This will be accompanied with a standard downloadable PowerPoint slide deck that presents the underlying research behind the project, and hopefully some embedded videos explaining the research and how the tool works. Each user will also be able to download their own bespoke results from the tool, such as figures that they can use in their own presentations or workshops. 

All of these outputs will be available from the project page on the CCI website