Services

Human socio-economies present wicked challenges that defy most efforts to influence them. We help teams, groups, businesses and networks of organizations take on messy problems and catalyze lasting change and positive results. Based in experience, we provide hands-on coaching and support the transfer of practical skills.

Diagnostics: assessing organizational abilities to manage complex change

Capacity building: training, coaching and tools to build team skills in conceiving, implementing and adaptively managing change initiatives

Management mentoring: manager-focused coaching and support to build and lead dynamic teams

Stakeholder collaboration strategies: helping groups with diverse perspectives, experiences and interests cooperatively pursue pathways to change

Performance management systems: helping leaders drive ongoing improvements in teams, suppliers, distribution networks and networks of collaborating organizations

Organizational learning systems: supporting development of management and monitoring systems to accelerate and deepen learning cycles that make adaptive strategizing and activity planning more effective

We design and adaptively manage initiatives that address complex problems through manageable pilots and scaled efforts that generate benefits for all stakeholders. We’ve worked across a range of socio-economic systems, with specialized experience in market systems, workforce development, environmental systems, education and community development.

Diagnostics and change assessments: examining a system’s underlying constraints and identifying promising opportunities for catalyzing change

Stakeholder engagement: helping diverse groups articulate their vision of a more desirable, achievable future and decide how to start

Adaptive intervention design and implementation: strategies and tactics for spurring and fanning the spread of transformative change

Systemic change monitoring: mechanisms for tracking how performance practices, relationships and inter-connections between people and organizations evolve and generate new patterns of behavior over time

Starting with the question of what teams need to learn in order to measure effectiveness, we provide a suite of monitoring and evaluation tools to help partners and their clients understand progress and impact. This includes support to multi-year impact evaluations as well as monitoring regimes tailored for specific activities.

Monitoring and Results Measurement: helping teams build robust measurement regimes that give insight into meaningful change and performance

Process Evaluations: evaluating an initiative’s progress toward impact, with a focus on learning and iteration toward increased effectiveness during implementation

Impact Evaluations: assessing program impact and effectiveness in creating lasting, transformative change

Portfolio reviews and learning events: facilitating group exchanges and reflections on the progress and direction of change and of opportunities for strengthening intervention portfolios

  • Example: Facilitation of discussions among institutional stakeholders in Buffalo, NY to plan and coordinate the next phase of initiatives to promote urban regenerative growth

We bridge academic and applied disciplines. Through research and testing of conceptual and technological advancements, we constantly develop new tools and practical approaches that help our clients become ever more effective. Our research with partners feeds our other service areas. Some of our recent areas of inquiry include:

Organizing to Learn: studying the challenges of human organizations to answer questions such as: what practices and which environments are most conducive to fostering a spirit of inquiry? What rules and informal incentive structures influence risk-taking and ownership within an organization that is trying to change its culture?

Understanding Systems: experimenting with novel techniques and pulling from diverse fields to build and field test methods for tracking resource and information flows, business model churn, innovation and other hard-to-track features of dynamic systems

Evaluating Impact: developing tools for fairly and thoroughly evaluating complex activities, especially for understanding whether early and mid-stage projects are on track