It goes beyond the theory of change approach, which is popular among some development charities, to explain how the change will be delivered.
Increasingly the classic ‘narrative’ approach to strategy – a written plan with hierarchical analysis, aims, objectives, action, and spreadsheets – is not seen as flexible enough to deal with the emerging volatile situations that public bodies, charities and NGOs find themselves facing. A good example of the need for flexibility is the impact of Covid 19 on the plans many agencies. The strategy wasn’t flexible enough to respond to the situation.
Another part of the attraction for the non-profit sector of using Strategy Maps is that the approach has significant traction in the commercial sector. Many private agencies, including 70% of Fortune 500 and 60% of FTSE 100 companies use them. This includes retail giants like Tesco. So an advantage for any non-profit is that by adopting the model you can gain access to an enormous number of commercial and non-commercial examples with which to compare your own practice. It also mean that when you share your plan with commercial partners they can see the clear links with their own strategy.
In the last 10 years public bodies including the BBC, the Army and the Health Service have begun to use strategy maps and scorecards. The =mc team has worked with leading charities and non-profits globally such as the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), UNICEF International, Medecins Sans Frontiers, Amnesty International, ActionAid, World Animal Protection, CAFOD, Christian Blind Mission, Compassion in World Farming, International Development Law Organisation, Terre Des Hommes, Soi Dog and Sightsavers International.
Among larger UK charities we’ve develop strategy maps with are MacMillan Cancer Relief, British Red Cross, UNICEF UK, Cancer Research UK, Arthritis UK, Alzheimer’s Research UK, Royal British Legion, Ramblers Association, and National Trust for Scotland.
In the cultural and heritage fields we’ve developed strategy maps for the Southbank Centre, British Film Institute, Into Film, Actors’ Centre and National Trust for Scotland. Many of these agencies have used the framework for a range of activities including fundraising, communications, innovation and operations.
The strategy map outlines the fundamental business logic of any plan, demonstrates the implications for internal and external stakeholders, codifies the organisational competencies and processes needed, explores what kind of skills and knowledge staff need, and identifies what resources need to be invested. Below is an example of a simple strategy map for a UK cultural institution.
The strategy map itself is generally complemented by a balanced scorecard to track how effectively the plan is being delivered, and an implementation plan to show how the activities to deliver the plan will be sequenced and rolled out. These three key elements together enable an organisation to move from very high level thinking to practical action.
The approach begins with the premise that most organisations are good at developing strategies, but not so successful at implementing them. So a key difference with the approach is that it doesn’t just help formulate strategy but to ensure it is delivered.
We normally develop strategy map in four phases outlined below:
Strategy maps can be used at a number of levels- for an overall organisational framework, for a fundraising strategy, or a specific service approach. They can be cascaded down to department or even team level.
=mc consulting team has worked with many of the world’s leading charities on their strategy or fundraising.
We’re proud to be helping or have helped, UNICEF, World Health Organisation, Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, Greenpeace International, WWF, Concern Worldwide and Amnesty International. In the UK, we’ve worked with Mencap, Alzheimer’s Society, Oxford University, Care, WWF, Science Museum and The National Trust for Scotland.
If Strategy Maps sound interesting and if you’d like to find out more about them or strategic development generally then =mc consulting can help you consider how or what to change.
We even have a how to download you can access here.