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OR in the Third Sector Pro Bono Case Studies Huw Evans.

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Presentation on theme: "OR in the Third Sector Pro Bono Case Studies Huw Evans."— Presentation transcript:

1 OR in the Third Sector Pro Bono Case Studies Huw Evans

2 Background Police Audit Commission Independent consultant Developing volunteering roles Doctorate - developed an evaluative framework for approaches to and processes for public engagement Community OR (COR) & OR in the Third Sector(ORiTS)

3 Context Connected via The Cranfield Trust and REACH – – Community OR & ORiTS – Capacity building – Participatory approaches – Adding value

4 Developing the assignments The link agency provided a project specification and expectations, e.g. time input required Expenses paid ….. The work was open to further interpretation and design in consultation with the client

5 Values Open, transparent Capacity building Expectations – their problems remained their property – did they want to change? Whole systems approach Develop self-awareness Outcome focus Learning Action orientated Adding value

6 Scope Strategic planning – Identifying outcomes – Gap analysis – Risk analysis Clarifying my role Capacity building Making tacit knowledge explicit Participatory approaches Open, transparent, undermining ‘P’(‘p’)olitical agendas Flexible / responsive approach to the assignment

7 Case Studies Four charities – 3 are small organisations – 2 are trying to cope with funding cuts – 1 planning a big project to refurbish an iconic building and enter into partnership with another charity – 1 a regional wide agenda around literature coping with recent amalgamation/absorption of other organisations – 1 with an espoused world wide conservancy agenda – 1 with a youth and community agenda – 1 with an advocacy role for minority groups

8 Theoretical domains Complexity Theory Groups Systems Theory Learning Organisations Organisational Learning Human Inquiry Group Dynamics Critical Systems Theory Democratic Theory Action research, participatory action research, self- reliant participatory action research

9 Common themes Consultancy seen as too expensive Lack of common understanding about the priorities Managers & directors working in isolation – knowledge remained tacit Failure to draw upon the breadth and depth of human capital available ‘P’(‘p’)olitical’ agenda Time Weak approach to development and capacity building Weak outcome and user focus

10 Blast & Prioritise workshop Set a theme Process – KISS principle – Blast - What works well? – Blast - What doesn’t work so well? – Group the issues and then prioritise them Output – Develop and agree an action plan – inc risks – Requires some iteration Outcomes – Self aware with a plan - refocused – Openness, transparency, undermines closed/political agendas, tacit knowledge made more explicit

11 Open Space with Future Search Using an Open Space approach – Empowers anyone to contribute – Individual responsibility – Owen, H. (1997). Open Space Technology (A User's Guide). San Francisco, Berrett- Koehler Future Search timeline – Past, present, future – Individual, world, organisational perspective – Share information – Makes explicit peoples’ vision for the future – Weisbord, M. R. and S. Janoff (1995). Future Search - An Action Guide to Finding Common Ground in Organizations & Communities. San Francisco, Berrett-Koehler

12 Case Study - 1 Small agency – advocacy for BME groups Funding had collapsed and were reduced to 1 member of staff Unclear agenda, unrealistic expectations & confused priorities by the board Developed a risk assessed action plan Workshop with the recently redundant staff, manager and board

13 Case Study 2 World wide conservancy agenda with a zoological exhibition Open Space adapted with the Future Search ‘timeline’ with managers, staff, trustees revealed: – Lack of common understanding – Poor structure – Problematic governance Further workshop with trustees – Mindsets challenged – new ideas emerged – Confidence boosted

14 Case Study 3 Young people and wider community support agenda Refurbishment of iconic premises plus partnership arrangement with an arts charity to share the new building Coaching and mentoring the manager Blast & prioritise workshop plus survey of users New draft plan More work emerging – this time for payment!

15 Case Study 4 Regional literary organisation Recently merged with 2 other organisations Heavily reliant upon a single funder Wanted a new business plan Resistant to a whole system approach – Blast & prioritise workshop with staff and managers – Workshop with the business planning sub-group of the Board Satisfaction with vision, mission, values? Blast & prioritise – Survey of stakeholders Several hundred potential but circulated to 7 of whom four responded The organisation then felt they were in a better position to write their new plan

16 Theoretical domains TheoryComment Systems TheorySometimes reluctant to involve others from outside of their ‘closed system’ Learning OrganisationTacit knowledge made explicit Challenged mindsets New ideas emerged Critical Systems TheoryApproaches that enable people to speak out Power & control, organisational culture, perceptions of management … Human InquiryApproaches and processes to minimise effect of the consultant/facilitator Group DynamicsNeed to consider when choosing processes in participatory approaches Democratic TheoryParticipatory approaches, involving people in decision- making – potentially challenges the political status quo Action Research, PAR, S-PARDeveloping individual & organisational capacity and confidence to ‘learn’ & develop themselves

17 How was it for me? Interesting, fun, met new people and worked in new areas & I learned a lot – Issues about power, ego, status – Small interventions can make a difference – The approach adopted often exposed the ‘elephant in the room’ – Strategy and operational delivery are inextricably linked in well managed organisations Confusion about separating ‘governance’ and ‘management’ from service development – Organisations can make more use of the breadth and depth of the human capital available – Risk management is seen as an adjunct to planning and not integral to it – 3 rd Sector infrastructure organisations may not be meeting the needs of the sector Pro bono work is not ‘free’ Working via other organisations may not raise the profile of OR or the ORS Boosts your experience and CV

18 How was it for the client? Added value – Knowledge management – Learning – People enjoyed being involved More self-aware about challenges, priorities New ideas emerged Boosted capacity and confidence “Failing to plan is planning to fail” (This, or variations, attributed to Benjamin Franklin, Winston Churchill et al)

19 Contact Dr Huw Evans Independent consultant T/A HSE Organisational Development Tel: Linked in:http://uk.linkedin.com/in/huwdevanshttp://uk.linkedin.com/in/huwdevans


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