The rapid pace of technological, social, and cultural change around the world has affected the social sector as much as any other part of society. At the same time, sophisticated change agents in non-profits, foundations, and institutions are taking advantage of this season by using their technological savvy and traditional leadership skills to innovate new solutions for society’s biggest challenges.
The Clearing has partnered alongside these change agents to manage these creative initiatives for social impact.
Our teams have partnered to:
- Advise social sector leaders on innovative approaches to communication with donors, recipients, partners, and other external stakeholders
- Provide systemic perspectives on social issues and create visual narratives to explain root cause of social issues to internal and external audiences
- Design and facilitate engaging events, dialogues, and debates on critical issues for society
- Develop strategies for improving internal effectiveness and efficiencies of non-profit and social sector organizations
- Facilitate board and advisory group strategy sessions
- Manage large transformation initiatives from strategy through to performance; from ‘idea to impact’
For decades, Inter-Governmental Agencies (IGOs) and Non-Governmental Agencies (NGOs) have strived heroically to raise individuals and nations out of poverty. Much progress has been made and yet more work remains. Organizations working on creating economic development opportunities as well as advancing other issues such as improving education, agriculture production, worker training, pollution reduction, natural disaster response, and human capital development are often met with budgetary constraints and conflicting agendas.
To continue making progress, organizations must continue to navigate the political and economic terrain while not losing their focus on the individuals and nations that so desperately need their help. Leaders will be required to cut through the complexity, prioritize various actions, and bring teams together to accomplish the work, all with an eye towards budgetary constraints.
The Clearings assists IGOs and NGOs take on major initiatives by:
- Working with leaders to challenge the status quo by developing robust strategies that shift the conversation from what makes things hard to what is possible
- Creating rapid-response workflows that allow for decisions to be made in real time and with full information
- Developing efficient organizational structures that do away with complexity and allow for the rationalization of skill sets and priorities
- Create and sustain high performance cultures that can tolerate and thrive in ambiguity.
Universities and other academic institutions of higher learning are resourcefully facing enrollment challenges, diminished endowments, and reductions in funding while still carrying on their mission of educating future generations. Furthermore, the high cost of education, coupled with more difficult economic conditions, has caused students worldwide to seek more relevancy in their course and degree selection, in an effort to obtain gainful employment after graduation. Students are also seeking to learn through different channels, such as on demand e-learning.
All of these factors make it imperative for institutions to apply steady focus on planning and designing their future. The Clearing’s team is staffed with professionals that have direct experience in both university-level administration and teaching. Together, they work with institutions to:
- Understand the transformative shift of the role of the consumer in higher education
- Create a rigorous bridging of epistemologies between practitioner needs and academic theory
- Better understand the stakeholder environment
- Recognize and map the complexity in which they operate so that challenges can be anticipated
- Create and sustain high performance cultures that can tolerate and thrive in ambiguity
- Devise strategy for increased student enrollment
- Address managerial challenges that distract the institution from operating in peak performance
- Streamline disparate, decentralized, and complex organizational structures to eliminate ineffectual limits of control.
Recent examples of our work
The Clearing partnered with a prominent think-tank to create a new strategy for economic development and social impact in the Middle East. The team at the think tank faced a complex landscape of government donors, partner country stakeholders, local small businesses and corporate sponsors.
The Clearing facilitated the development of a new fundraising strategy for enhanced corporate sponsorship. The effort created greater focus, alignment, and efficiency in their fundraising and public-private partnership efforts.
The Clearing’s team worked with a family foundation of a nationally recognized political leader, to create innovative programs for social engagement. The foundation leadership saw an opportunity to develop a better national dialogue on economic development, poverty alleviation, and public safety reform.
The Clearing designed new programs that received national recognition and led to high visibility platforms for public discourse.
The Clearing worked with a unit of an international bank to set short and long-term priorities, refine its strategy, develop implementation plans, explore options for restructuring, and develop and implement communications plans for internal and external audiences.
These effective efforts were in service of the Unit reaching its goals to develop and deploy innovative market-based instruments to mobilize private financing, focus on developmental impact, and position the Unit for increased influence within the organization and beyond.
The Clearing worked with the client to create a new vision and gain clarity of its place within the system in which it operates. Using The Clearing’s strategy design process, the group came to understand: (1) the market, stakeholder landscape, and unique value proposition (2) its unique offerings distinct from the mission of its individual members (3) the group’s capabilities, limitations and constraints, as well as the type of impact it can achieve.
With this new understanding, the group clarified the its primary purpose, crafted a new orientation that moved the group beyond past barriers, carved out a new vision for the organization, identified the initial strategic priorities for the group, and defined the initial roadmap to move toward the realization of the new vision.
A city-based university faced unprecedented challenges and change. The President and Board embarked on a strategic planning process directed by City Council. That effort highlighted the need to address significant issues in the university’s culture.
The Clearing’s team partnered with university leadership to recognize and implement the cultural shifts required across the university, develop a plan to address those shifts, and communicate and engage directly and consistently with key audiences.
A law school program designed to meet the continuing education needs of law professionals had experienced a significant drop in attendance at their annual conference, putting the future of the program in doubt. The program was struggling to maintain its status and relevance in light of increased national competition and shifts in law practices.
The Clearing provided advisory assistance to both the Director and the Board, and implemented strategies to strengthen and rebuild the conference. As a result of our work, the decline in attendance stopped and the conference received improved ratings from the attendees.