How do you write a blog about strategy development that sounds interesting? I don’t know but I’ll try.
I won’t labour what we’ve sought to achieve these past few years but you can read our current strategy here. We’ve sought to have an impact beyond that of the many great organisations we’ve worked with, championing innovation, collaboration and learning. And we have done so in times of increasing need and decreasing resources, a situation that makes us particularly aware of the need to be strategic, as I already commented in our 2011 Annual Review and developed further in 2012.
We know we’re not alone in this process, so our reflections have gone beyond the introspective. In that sense, hearing what our partners had to say about our development was fundamental by helping us value what we have achieved and identify elements to go forward. You can take a look at what they had to say by accessing the video interview or the full report. In addition to hearing from those with whom we work, we’ve reviewed our evaluation framework and also looked back at the sorts of outcomes that we’ve sought to help achieve in everything we’ve done across our programmes of activity under each of our three main aims and the cross-cutting aim (which you can explore here).
We thought about how we think change happens and what our role might be in that; the pointy heads call this a ‘theory of change’. And we thought about the overall funding ecology and where we fit in it. We particularly asked ourselves how we might strengthen collaboration with those we work with and with colleagues in Lisbon. And we also did some brainstorming around key questions such as:
- might we better support prevention/early intervention so that problems can be addressed at their root causes;
- can our impact across the UK be enhanced cost-effectively;
- how might we help bring about change through working with business as well as with the voluntary sector and government;
- and, should we be doing more policy and advocacy work if we are to achieve our aim of influencing systemic change? The key output from our strategy away days can be viewed here as a presentation to our colleagues and the discussion that this stimulated will inform further development of our strategy, which we will circulate as a draft for comment. This will then be endorsed by our Board of Trustees in December, and published in its final version in January 2014.At the same time, we are bringing some areas of work to a conclusion and exploring legacy whilst also developing new strands in the areas of: the environment, with a focus on marine conservation; ageing; and arts with a social impact. The thinking during the strategy session will enrich the development of these new strands of work to be driven from the UK Branch, and I know many of our partners are engaged and will be engaged in this exercise at different stages.We welcome comments from all quarters and these can be submitted here. We might not be able to send individual responses to these, but any comments that are made will be taken on board as we move into the next stage of our development.
So, was that interesting? It is for me; because for me, it’s about making sure, with your help, and by working in an open and engaged way, we develop an approach that is even more impactful for the future.
Andrew Barnett. Director, UK Branch