Sightsavers International needed a clearer strategic direction, but any successful strategy would have to truly engage staff across the organisation.
In this case study we reveal how =mc worked with Sightsavers over two years to develop a new global strategic direction that achieved record levels of understanding and engagement across the whole organisation and its partners.
The resulting strategy, based around a strategy map has underpinned a range of transformational changes in approach to service delivery and underpinned significant financial growth.
If you’re interested in reading our overview of strategy maps which includes more on the Sightsavers case click here.
Sightsavers International is a UK-based INGO working in the fields of disability and healthcare improvement – specifically on sight-related challenges and NTDs (Neglected Tropical Diseases).
Established over 70 years ago, it has played an outstanding role in reducing sight-based disability in Asia, Africa and Central America.
Sightsavers’ work had historically been focused on the provision of healthcare solutions through a range of sight-related programmes such as providing operations for cataracts, or medication to tackle parasites that cause blindness. Despite the success of this practical work, increasingly there were internal and external voices calling for a wider awareness of disability issues, and a focus on building capacity in partners and governments.
The senior team, led by the outstanding CEO Caroline Harper, decided to undertake a radical review of how the agency worked, including fundamentals like vision and mission. Initially they worked with =mc to carry out a governance review. They decided to maintain a branch structure rather than create a full federal structure with autonomous local offices.
=mc then began a global consultation programme involving online surveys, telephone interviews and meetings with beneficiaries, partners, staff, board members and donors.
The results were clustered into four change themes which set out the impact Sightsavers wanted to make. Each of these themes had associated aims and measures of success, but the challenge was how to draw together these threads into a coherent strategic plan.
Following this initial work =mc was asked to work on three main projects:
Working with the CEO and the strategic planning working group, we designed a series of integrated processes to help structure and manage the strategic change and its implications over two years. We also worked to ensure that there was a robust and transparent process.
Finally, once the strategic outcome was clarified, we helped develop an integration and implementation strategy, which would ensure that the great ideas and principles were turned into concrete action.
Staff, board and partners were aligned with the new programme and global workshops achieved significant levels of engagement: a worldwide employee survey at the time showed that 92% of staff said they understood the new vision and mission, 87% understood the balanced (SIM ) scorecard, and 81% felt engaged and enthused about the future.
Sightsavers is now working on its third iteration of the strategy and enjoying the benefits these new ways of working. They have implemented an online dashboard that monitors global progress against the strategy.
=mc consulting has worked with a number of complex international agencies on strategy development, often involving global engagement processes with a range of stakeholders. These include some global organisations such as: Amnesty International, World Animal Protection, UNAIDS, Soi Dog, Smile Train and Compassion in World Farming, International Development Law Organisation, International Ophthalmological Council, Frontline AIDS, International Planned Parenthood Federation, Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund and Christian Blind Mission.
We also have a strong track record of strategy work with UK organisations including: Royal Society of Medicine, University College London, Fight for Sight, Royal British Legion, Arthritis UK, and Alzheimer’s Research.
In the arts and culture sector we’ve worked with National Trust for Scotland, BFI Education Programme, Into Film, and the Actors Centre.