How We Do It

Soft skills are the crucial 21st century skills, essential in the workplace and for personal well-being. 

Time and again our work shows that soft skills change lives, unlocking the way to personal growth, resilience, well-being, employability and so much more.


Delivering our early arts-based projects we saw that it was through soft skills development that participants made the most meaningful changes. And our projects were delivering these skills really well. We wanted to make more of this valuable element of our work, but it was easier said than done.

Not only were soft skills generally considered relatively unimportant, but the lack of any effective way of managing and assessing them was a major problem. Because they couldn’t be measured in currently accepted ways, they were being sidelined.

But all the accepted evaluation methods were designed for very different ’20th century’ skills; old methods aren’t fit for this new purpose. What was needed was a different perspective, an alternative approach – one that would manage and measure soft skills in order to encourage their development.

And so Barrier Breakers Methodology for Soft Skills Development and Evaluation (BBM) was born.

BBM was first published in 2002, in a report written and researched for the RSA, “How To Access And Manage Creativity In Organisations,” since when BBM has been applied to thousands of individual and organisational change programmes. However, the research and development is ongoing, to ensure that the approach remains current and credible.

In 2007 we won the UK Performance Hub prize in recognition of BBM’s success in supporting 3rd sector performance, and the approach has been presented at education conferences around the world.

Go here for more information about BBM.