Strategy Design for effective operations in fragile and conflict-affected areas worldwide
In 2018, Minerva was contracted to help a Swiss-based international development organisation review its overarching goals and specific objectives, and facilitate the design of a strategic plan to attain them.
The client organisation works worldwide amongst agricultural communities, with many of its interventions taking place in areas characterised by fragility, instability and ongoing or incipient conflict. Its executive management team had little collective experience of strategic planning. It therefore needed to engage consultants familiar with both the fragile contexts in which the organisation typically operated and with training staff to use a wide range of new planning tools. Minerva allocated two staff with experience of training and of military and civilian planning processes.
At the outset of Minerva’s involvement, the organisation was undergoing structural change and simultaneously contemplating whether it should broaden the scope of its remit and, if so, into what areas. It had no Board approved strategic plan and thus no structured method for guiding its medium to long-term pathway. The incoming CEO recognised this critical vulnerability and engaged Minerva to assist him in overcoming it.
Minerva advised the CEO on how best to frame and conduct the planning exercise, and subsequently facilitated a three-day planning exercise with his executive management team. During the exercise, Minerva helped the executive management team first to crystallise the organisation’s core values and goals, and then to develop these into a brief mission statement. The team then used this to give focus and set boundaries to their subsequent debate over what the organisation could realistically accomplish and how. The Minerva team introduced several strategic planning tools, adapting them as necessary to the organisation’s specific needs and the capacity of the executive team to make effective use of them over a short time period.
Minerva captured all the information gathered and topics debated by the team and synthesised it in a report that presented the required strategic plan, including a defined end state, a road map, a synchronisation matrix and an audit trail of the planning process. Furthermore, the exercise delivered the required secondary outcome of introducing all key staff to a common planning methodology and developing their initial capacity to work collectively with it. On the basis of the success of the exercise, Minerva has been engaged to carry out further strategic and operational planning work for the organisation.