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Our team recently spent time in the Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples region of Ethiopia, where we collaborated closely with the board of an Ethiopian-led nonprofit organisation to guide a set of strategies as they move into the next phase of their organisation.

This was a deeply immersive experience focused on building relationships, uncovering institutional knowledge, and fostering alignment across senior leadership. It also provided an opportunity for us to engage firsthand with the communities our partners serve to better understand their impact. From spending time at the school, hospital, clinics, and college to interacting with beneficiaries, every moment offered insights into the challenges and aspirations of the organisation’s programs.

Michael at the Ethiopian brand discovery workshop

While we like to ensure our sessions are bespoke to the needs of our partners, our discovery workshops consistently touch on the following areas:

Pursuit of truth
The workshop began with a foundational exercise — a statement of facts. This exercise encouraged participants to ground themselves in the realities that define their organisation. By establishing a shared understanding of what is undeniably true, teams laid the groundwork for meaningful introspection and alignment.

Purpose clarification
A central focus of the workshop was articulating the organisation’s purpose. Participants delved into the core problem their organisation aims to address and considered its relevance in today’s context. By outlining their approach and shaping how to call stakeholders to action, we were able to cultivate a sense of shared purpose that guides their strategic decisions.

Stakeholder engagement
Understanding and engaging with key stakeholders is essential for organisational success. During the workshop, participants identified their most important external stakeholders and anticipated their needs and motivations. By fostering meaningful connections and alignment, we laid the groundwork for collaboration and support.

Uniqueness unveiled
Distinguishing your organisation from others in the market is crucial for standing out and attracting support. Participants explored points of parity and differentiation, inspired by the legacy of organisations like Project Mercy. By articulating their unique value proposition and aspirations for the future, teams positioned themselves for success.

Goal setting with OKRs
Setting clear goals and metrics for success is essential for driving progress and accountability. Guided by the framework of Objectives and Key Results (OKRs), participants defined overarching goals and measurable outcomes. This structured approach empowered teams to align their efforts and track their progress effectively.

Reflecting on our trip was a poignant reminder of the transformative power of collaboration, empathy, and community engagement as we continue our work with social impact organisations around the world.

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