A leading Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) working on improving activism and citizen participation in governance had hit a wall. After several years of successful operation, the number of activities its team was running had grown to be unmanageable and seemingly inconsistent. The organization needed to re-define and re-state its vision and create a filter for choosing the activities it will continue to support and run. We were asked to help them structure their thoughts and determine a path for the future.
We decided on a 3-phase approach for a) surfacing assumptions and mental models of the core team, b) aligning perspectives under a shared vision, c) designing a new organizational structure and operational model to directly support the vision. Our team first interviewed all key stakeholders to uncover frustrations and potential risks and map their understanding of what the priorities currently are and what they should be. Then we organized a 1-day event including key internal and external stakeholders, where we triggered the team to surface objectives and structure them into a hierarchy. We used concept mapping to model the exercise real-time and produce a visual representation of the organization's priorities. Then we analysed the results and notes to find out that there actually was alignment on the big vision, but multiple perspectives on how results can and should be delivered. We discovered common underlying themes pointing towards a single digital platform for stakeholder engagement, and helped align the team around this project as a perspective unification point and a driver for the organizational structure going forward.
The intervention was able to create team alignment and reduce the number of activities to only those that directly supported the shared vision. The organization went ahead with designing, specifying and delivering a digital portal for stakeholder engagement.