Blog

Our thinking, things we've spotted elsewhere, and vistas into life at Helpful...

Facebook pages can now join groups

18 Oct 2018 in Blog

Administrators of Facebook groups now have an option to allow pages – not just people – to join their group.  This is important. Engaging with communities on Facebook has always been a challenge for companies, because one or more members of staff would have to join a group using their personal profile. That’s tricky because […]

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Easy WordPress local development environment

17 Oct 2018 in Blog

We believe it letting the build team work in the environment that works best for them – but a local dev environment should also be painless and quick to setup. So recently we’ve rolled out an optional setup using Laravel Valet+ to keep simple tasks simple. TL;DR; As simple as Homebrew, Composer, and Valet+ are, using […]

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Podcasts: Where do I start?

21 Aug 2018 in Blog

  The number of podcast listeners has increased significantly over the past four years, reaching over 68 million in America in 2017. 44 percent of these listeners are millennials and 57 percent of those listeners hold a bachelor’s degree or higher. What used to be considered an outdated and “nerdy” platform has revolutionised media, news, […]

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Helpful’s first firebreak: what we learned

17 Jul 2018 in Blog

During June 2018, we had our first Gov.uk inspired ‘firebreak’, where we paused non-essential project work for 2-3 weeks so the build team could focus on their own individual projects; including researching new ideas & technologies, organising neglected repositories, remodelling dated templates and writing helpful guides and documentation. Urgent requests from clients were prioritised over […]

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Nine things we learned at #CommsCamp

12 Jul 2018 in Blog

We like Commscamp. A couple of hundred interesting public sector comms people in a lovely rambling building by the Birmingham & Fazeley canal, run on traditional unconference principles: no fixed agenda before the day, anyone can pitch a 50 min session, and the “law of two feet” applies (i.e. if a session is boring you, […]

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Happy Birthday to the NHS!

5 Jul 2018 in Blog

As a team here at Helpful, we've got our share of personal connections to the NHS at painful and joyful moments in own lives. So as the NHS turns 70 this week, we've been looking back at some of the NHS projects we've done in our eight years working with NHS and related organisations.

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Learnings from the Women Of Silicon Roundabout conference 2018

26 Jun 2018 in Blog

On Tuesday I joined 4000 others at the Women Of Silicon Roundabout conference in London, celebrating gender diversity in tech and the day as a whole was extremely interesting and inspiring. The best bits The standout for me was Sarah Raymond, product lead at Spotify. Spotify has 170m listeners across 65 countries so pinning down and understanding […]

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Three things to make your Twitter profile pop

8 Jun 2018 in Blog

You don’t have to search far to find online guides offering advice for creating the perfect Twitter profile. Many of the guides I’ve found online are focused on gaining more followers, but really that should come organically if you’ve mastered the basics of your profile. The ‘popping’ part of your profile should be personality. Here’s […]

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Social Simulator: now in New York City

5 Feb 2018 in Writing elsewhere

We’ve been doing business in the USA for several years, helping clients in sectors from pharmaceuticals to financial services, energy to agritech to stress-test their crisis and emergency preparedness through crisis drills incorporating a realistic and dynamic social media element. This month we enter an incredibly exciting new phase, as we’ve opened our first North […]

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Leaders at a table


Plotting my travels

12 Dec 2017 in Blog

My Grandparents were very proud of Dad’s travels with the Merchant Navy. On the wall of their home was a world map, with pins to show all the different places he’d visited. I used to spend hours looking at those pins and wondering. Since 2010 I’ve been using Foursquare and its later stablemate, Swarm. These two apps allow you to […]

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Ian Blakeman

Empowering prisons to engage online

18 Aug 2017 in Blog

Open government is a driver for the way we deliver a lot of our work at Helpful. The challenge with open government is that it’s often difficult to see the impact of changes to laws and processes, on the citizen. Prison reform is a case in point, which is why we chose to work with […]

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Front cover of InsHEgram

Book recommendation: InstHEgram

13 Jun 2017 in Blog

Digital skills building doesn’t always lend itself to books. If you want to learn something you’ll Google it, speak to colleagues, or seek out training if you want more depth and support. Books have their place, but often for inspiration rather than practical learning. Sometimes I’m proved wrong and this is one of those occasions. […]

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4 things you need to know about Instagram

21 Apr 2017 in Blog

If you’re anything like me, I get used to doing things in a routine and often become blissfully unaware that there is an easier way. So when I discovered a few nifty things about one of my favourite apps, Instagram, I thought I should share it with you all to hopefully make your image sharing lives […]

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Blank page with the start of three sentences crossed out

Breaking the fear of blogging

21 Apr 2017 in Blog

Blogging, or its video equivalent, vlogging, have an important role to play in sharing ideas, encouraging feedback and explaining work that might be too detailed for 140 characters. Blogging tends to be overlooked, because it doesn’t offer the immediate gratification and ease of a social network. On something like Twitter you can publish within seconds and see responses […]

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Examples of the Facebook I'm Safe button

5 reasons Facebook is better than you think

18 Apr 2017 in Blog

The UK faces another vote this Summer. Whatever the impact on how the country is governed, we can be certain that the election process will generate a fresh round of speculation about how social media, and principally Facebook, is influencing political views/wrecking lives/creepy/sinister (delete as appropriate). It won’t surprise you to read that we have a […]

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The Apple and the Worm: Stories in an online age

29 Mar 2017 in Blog

Stories today are shapeless, slippery fellows who slip through the fingers of all those who try to grasp them. To demonstrate this let’s look at the made-up story of the Apple and the Worm. 1986 Charles bought an apple from the Acme Fruit & Veg stall. When he got it home he took a bite […]

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