Engagement, attention and structure

Seen from the outside, using the PIEs 2.0 framework as a way to look at services is a fact-finding mission - albeit one that works with the grey areas of opinion, and the complexities of relationships and complex needs. But from the outside, it simply suggests a useful way to think about the services they work in.

The Pizazz services assessment process - whether the Pizazz-on-paper, or the software version, the PIE Abacus - then takes that a stage further, in asking first for the reasons for these views - 'the evidence' - and then prompts with questions for their future planning for service development.

So what's the Inner Game?

Put simply, it's the process, the discussion, that matters most, not the final score.


We humans gain in trust and mutual understanding by working together on a common project. Sometimes, its true, that work first throws up difficulties and conflicts that were hidden before; but a successful project is one that uses these differences to shed light on the work; and uses the common task to mediate and reconcile these differences.

It is as important to engage service staff as it is to engage service users. (See: The core skills of engagement, HERE) This is a part of the work that we may often identify with management of a project; but in reality its something we are all engaged in, and can play a part in. Easing such tensions should work for everyone - eventually; and feeling involved, works.


Social psychologists for half a century and more have recognised that we humans thrive on being listened to. The famous Hawthorn experiment - conclusions now, of course, contested - suggested that simply paying attention to workers' experience can boost productivity.

We all know how irritating it is to be to be held in a queue, with a telephone message that assures us 'your call is important to us'. Crass, misguided and rightly ridiculed, this clumsy attempts to mechanise a response to a human need services to remind us how important real attention is. Even something as simple as looking up, when someone enters the room, can have a huge impact. (See: The eyes have it, HERE)


But structures can really help. Not always, of course. But a carefully structured discussion can save hours of spoken and un-spoken miscommunication.  The PIEs framework arose from 10 years or so of discussions, to try to get to the key features. The Pizazz benefits from many years of educationalists thinking and pedagogy; and software development, for maximum 'UX" - 'users experience'.

The PIEs 2 framework, the Pizazz on paper and the PIE Abacus are surely not perfect; but we don't aim for perfection (See: Ambition and modesty, HERE). Its important to leave some room for participants to have to make it work, to make it their own.


Further background reading/listening/viewing

Take it from here...

Preamble: the expanded scope and overall purpose of PIEs 2.0


PIElink pages

The key features of the revised version are then outlined and explored in turn:

  • Psychological awareness HERE
  • Staff Training and Support HERE
  • Learning and Enquiry HERE
  • Spaces of Opportunity HERE
  • The Three Rs HERE

For more on the development of these areas, see

Pizazz: A new and more customisable working framework for PIEs :  HERE

The PIE Abacus: an on-line Pizazz : HERE


Other useful background reading/viewing

The cycles of practice-based learningHERE

Is the PIE evolving? HERE

Memes: a cautionary tale HERE

Is the PIE just about homelessness? HERE

Psychologically informed environments and the enabling environments initiativHERE

In search on the enabling environment HERE

Creating a Psychologically Informed Environment - assessment and Implementation HERE

A very brief introduction to the key elements of a PIE HERE

A very brief history of PIE HERE

A VERY brief future of PIE HERE

Development in dialogue HERE (soon)