The Opportunity

Oxfam is a major international agency working to end poverty and suffering around the world.  Oxfam GB engages with the UK public to raise money to directly support Oxfam’s life-saving and life changing work and to campaign for change on the issues that keep people poor like, inequality, climate change and hunger.

Oxfam GB faced two major challenges.  Firstly, it’s approach to engaging the public tended to be driven more by internal perceptions and priorities rather than external aspirations and energies.  Secondly, the charity had a fragmented, uncoordinated relationship with its supporters, sometimes leading to poor supporter experience.

The client’s response was to completely transform the supporter experience and how the organisation engages with the public.  We were commissioned to support the project delivery team through the co-design of a new public engagement operating model, while another consultancy supported the technology aspects.

The Tricordant Approach

Oxfam GB had originally created a design team, with a ‘test and learn’ reference group and timetabled weekly design workshops for each.  Building upon this pattern of work we agreed a process and toolset to rapidly create a design through 17 design workshops over 9 weeks.  We facilitated each workshop as the design progressed through 5 stages: discovery, design principles, functional analysis, future high-level design, and finally the detailed operating model including processes, structures, integrating mechanisms, governance, performance metrics and accountabilities, behaviours, skills and knowledge, captured in a single design document.

The collaborative design process brought together senior and middle managers into teams that were functioning across divisional boundaries, modelling the mechanisms and behaviours that were central to the new operating model.  Individual managers, despite knowing their own jobs may be at risk, set aside their personal anxieties to design the best structure that met the design criteria within the budget allowed.

“I am really pleased we commissioned Tricordant to support this important work.  We needed to rapidly transform our supporters’ experience and how we engage with the public.  Tricordant added real value through both excellent facilitation and organisation design expertise.  Not only did we complete an incredible amount of work in such a short time to deliver the necessary outcomes, but the relationships between the key stakeholders have substantially improved and are flourishing in the new structure”.

Nicola Tallett,  Audience Engagement Director, Oxfam GB

The Outcome

The ultimate outcome was the design, delivered on time, of an affordable operating model that was endorsed by the charity’s Executive Directors.  HR consultation followed the endorsement and the design has been implemented.

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