The Client

A small nonprofit

Results that Matter

Connected leaders from multiple social service organizations across the Pacific Northwest to create an aligned vision and mission around the change they wanted to introduce. Together we identified shared measures of success and ways to recognize incremental progress in organizational change.

Leaders from several different organizations gained design-thinking skills and a first-hand experience in a collaborative design process. We produced and iterated on actionable prototypes to drive organizational change. By testing prototypes, participants gathered meaningful insight and quickly made improvements. Leaders reported that the experience in this ongoing community has increased their ability to test small interventions and share strategies to scale what works.

The convening model built inspiration and accountability to lead organizational change. Participants strengthened their ability to collectively address large-scale social issues by developing strong relationships and networks.  At least one agency has plans to scale design-thinking practices throughout their organization.

How We Did It

With any big, intractable problem, it can be easy to feel overwhelmed by the complexity of the causes and constraints. Instead of focusing on what’s not working, we created the time and space to find out what is working well and build more of it. We used qualitative research to uncover small wins, nuances, and practices that were yielding surprising results.

We facilitated collaborative work sessions with stakeholders to analyze the qualitative data and "think big" about ways to create change. Based on our findings, organizations overwhelmingly wanted to connect with each other over a longer period of time.

In collaboration with our nonprofit client, we created a structure that included an in-person kick off meeting, virtual convenings, and peer-to-peer connection calls. In each convening we prepared prototypes (such as new client experience survey, sample job description, or an outline of a new curriculum) to contribute to the organizational transformation each participating organization aspires to achieve. Communicating visually and sourcing feedback from the group surfaced hidden assumptions and brought clarity to the tools and ideas.

Organizations connected as a cohort during an iterative design process which increased leaders' likelihood to collaborate and share strategies for change.

When: 2018