Organizational Assessment and Training

The international development world is changing, and the need for strong leadership for implementing organizations is important. Leadership is about coping with change. Strong leaders will be able to provide a strong vision and strategy that is evidence or data driven. It is through the analysis of patterns and trends that strong strategies are formed. Once the vision and strategy are firmly in place, leaders must work with their teams to get the job done.

Adaptive leaders know how to mobilize people to take on tough challenges. IBG works with senior leaders to build the skills for adaptive change; we take the best of the past and build on it for the future. It’s about learning, based on evidence, and experimentation. Too many organizations prefer their current situation, since making any change is considered unpredictable and highly risky. This can be the case, if leaders are unable to collect and interpret the necessary data for making change. In such cases, organizational leaders tend to use authoritative power to make incremental change, but too often the adaptive challenge requires changes in people’s beliefs, priorities and habits. IBG wants to help those organizations that are facing adaptive challenges and assist in the process.

IBG uses a ‘Sigma Lean’ approach, enabling organizations to speed up and focus experimentation in order to reduce wasted effort. Our approach is based on efficiency, and accelerates the process of eliminating ineffective ideas and validates those ideas with promise.

IBG looks at ‘planning’ through a different lens than most development organizations. First, there is an acknowledgement that planning is important, but by and large, it discourages experimentation and responsible risk-taking. When catalyzing promising interventions IBG encourages organizations to focus on outcomes, and to provide incentives to learn and adapt the program in order to become more cost-effective.

The following services are offered:

ORGANIZATIONAL ASSESSMENT

This assessment is to provide an understanding of where there might be challenges to improving program efficiency and in making change with an organization. The assessment looks at the organization:

i) Structure – to get a sense of what is important. What behaviours and attitudes get rewarded? How is the organization structured? This includes organizational charts, policies, and other factors that give direction to the organization.

ii)  Culture – is different from structure, in that it is less formal, but nevertheless very telling of the ability for the organization to adapt to change. How does the organization describe itself and how does this compare to reality? Simple observations, such as how meetings are used can help in understanding culture. For instance, are meetings a time to share information or are they a time to make decisions?

iii) Problem-solving – what lenses are used in problem-solving? How does the organization look at new situations? Do innovative ideas become operational? What things are working and are therefore continually repeated?

The purpose of the organizational assessment is to identify what aspects of the organization facilitate change and which aspects will hinder. Based on the findings, the leadership can make decisions on how it wants to proceed.

TRAINING

Non-profit organizations are able to use a common approach for innovation that has been used within the business community and improve their efficiency and effectiveness. Sigma Lean enables organizations to speed up and focus experimentation in order to reduce wasted effort. Our approach is based on efficiency, and accelerates the process of eliminating ineffective ideas and validates those ideas with promise.

In addition, IBG can provide, through its partners, Lean Sigma training for Black Belt, Green Belt, Yellow Belt, Executive/Champion, Change Management & Change Acceleration from a proven turnaround executive.


Systems Change in Social Sector

As a systems entrepreneur, IBG wants to join forces and work with other organizations and individuals who are working to solve significant development challenges. IBG is a facilitator that works with organizations that are committed to working in a collective manner.

Although IBG agrees with other system entrepreneurs that the real issue in combatting development challenges is not funding, but the lack of coordination, the type of program financing is extremely important. This is often overlooked. Large-scale social change does require broad cross-sector coordination and IBG has these capabilities, but is also able to determine the most effective financing instrument that will encourage innovation and flexibility for better social results. In order to make solid social investment decisions a systems entrepreneur will require analytical expertise and ability to do financial and economic modeling, as well as financial, economic and risk analysis. IBG can provide this expertise.

These analytical abilities will then converge with the evidence-based monitoring and performance-based management systems that will be required for there to be genuine coordination and collaboration.


Technology

IBG is interested in how technology can improve program efficiency as well as equity. During the past few years it has become evident that technology is needed to genuinely revolutionize inefficient and ineffective systems, especially in the health and agricultural sectors in developing countries.

Although many development practitioners have used a statistical approach to processing large data, this conventional statistical analysis is often not able to program every possible combination to arrive at a desired outcome.  

Algorithms allow us to maximize predictive performance. IBG works with the private sector and research institutions to use AI with implementing partners. In the case of diagnostic technology, partners are able to understand the spread of disease, as well as identify solutions. 

Within the agricultural sector AI, combined with drone and GPS technology, can help increase the yield of farmland under tillage in developing countries. In addition to being able to improving planting and fertilizing, technology can also have an important role in recognizing healthy and unhealthy plants and respond appropriately and effectively.

Technology is able to harness data that can improve agricultural output, as well as, improve human health through AI diagnostic technology. It can also determine where resources are needed so that issues of equity can be improved, and the needs of the most vulnerable can be adequately addressed. 

IBG builds “bridges” with technology companies who have a commitment to using their products to reduce poverty and address SDGs in developing countries. IBG encourages enquiries. Please contact IBG for more details on specific opportunities.


Social Development Programming Appraisal

Too many government and development bank funded programs are being financed that have either little or no evidence of the expected benefits or social well-being. Bilateral donors commit funding to a program as part of their policy instruments in pursuing their development objectives. Bilateral donors and regional banks should have projects that contribute to their overall strategy and that have been appraised to understand the costs and the benefits. Although there are some who do, unfortunately there are many, especially bilateral donors, that do not appraise any of their programs. Any time government donors finance large development programs it should be in the public interest, both for taxpayers, as well as for the recipient government and its citizens, to have the program appraised.

IBG works with bilateral donors, multilaterals, regional banks, and developing country government ministries to appraise. The following are the abbreviated services provided in an integrated appraisal approach:

  1. FINANCIAL APPRAISAL – the financial appraisal will largely determine the sustainability of the social services. In part, viability is very much determined by the timing of the cash flows. There are alternative criteria for determining the appraisal for a program. IBG uses the net present value (NPV) as it is largely accepted as the most satisfactory criterion for the evaluation of programs. Social programs, such as health and education, benefit from the financial analysis as a framework for presenting annual requirements of funds for continuing with the program.
  2. RISK ANALYSIS AND MANAGEMENT – it is highly unlikely that the values of all of a program’s key variables, such as the rate of inflation, the market exchange rate, and the prices and quantities of inputs and outputs, will be projected with certainty throughout the life of the program. Hence, a program’s NPV and other summary measures are subject to uncertainty and risk. Adapting the analysis to cover uncertainty is thus an important part of an integrated program evaluation. The risk analysis is undertaken by identifying the key risk variables using sensitivity and scenario analysis. Once the risky variables are identified, an appropriate probability distribution is selected, along with the range of values for each risk variable. The use of a Monte Carlo simulation is used for generating a probability distribution of program outcomes.
  3. ECONOMIC APPRAISAL – this deals with the effect of the project on the larger society and determines whether the program is likely to increase total net social benefits. Once the economic profile is constructed, the economic discount rate is used to estimate the program’s net present value. Like the financial appraisal, Monte Carlo simulations can be used to generate a probability distribution of the NPV of the program.
  4. STAKEHOLDER ANALYSIS – for the sustainability of the program it is important to know how the program will distribute benefits. The financial and economic analysis of the integrated program analysis provides the basic data for estimating the specific stakeholder benefits. The purpose of this distributional analysis is to see whether the benefits of the program will go to the intended groups, as well as to ensure that no specific group is subjected to an undue burden as a result of the program.
  5. COST-EFFECTIVENESS ANALYSIS – although cost-benefit analysis will be used in some programs, it will be more appropriate to use CEA for programs where the benefits are difficult to quantify in monetary terms.

Innovative Financing

Innovative financing refers to a range of non-traditional financing mechanisms being used to fill the gap toward achieving the SDGs. IBG can provide technical assistance for the following financing mechanisms:  i) public-private partnerships; and ii) Results-Based Financing.

IBG goes through several steps in assessing the feasibility of the program. The initial step is to do a relatively quick situational assessment that includes the following:

  1. Review of interventions, other similar programs, country specific details
  2. Review of the theory of change/logic model, indicators
  3. Payment metric options – initial assessment of control, risk, and incentives
  4. Impact evaluation methods
    1. Observational methods
    2. Causal methods
      1. Quasi-experimental
      2. Randomized evaluations
  5. Set-up of cost-benefit model/cost-effectiveness model
  6. Review financing considerations
    1. Typical cash flows
    2. Review financing options
    3. Assess sustainability

After the situation analysis has been completed there will be a full presentation to the program team with recommendations. A Go/No Go decision will be made at this time. The following are indicative steps that IBG goes through in assessing the feasibility of a program.:

  1. Selection of the financing instrument (RBF)
    1. Performance-Based Contract
    2. Social Impact Bond
      1. Development Impact Bond
      2. Humanitarian Impact Bond
      3. Performance-Based Grants
      4. Prize-Based Challenges
  2. Finalizing the Theory of Change
  3. Determination of Optimal Size
    1. Determine maximum net benefits
    2. Determine optimal stakeholder impacts
  4. Selection of payment metrics
    1. Alignment with desired impact
    2. Risk analysis
    3. Assessment of incentives
  5. Instrument Design
    1. Measuring benefits and costs for both the financial and economic appraisal
    2. Identification of stakeholder impacts
    3. Assess payment structure
  6. Evaluation and Measurement
    1. Validating decision made in the situational analysis
    2. Assess evaluation options against risk and objectives
  7. Contracting
    1. Structuring of the deal – legal structuring, etc
    2. Develop project risks and disputes mechanism
    3. Assess risk sharing and mitigation strategies
  8. Negotiation
    1. Finalizing the business case
    2. Finalizing the term sheet
  9. Post-Contract Signing
    1. Evidence-based monitoring systems
    2. Performance management system
      1. Data management and analysis
      2. Selection of management team

Impact Evaluation

It is important to know that not all programs need to have an impact evaluation. Impact evaluations are costly, and there are circumstances that do not warrant the cost. At IBG, we suggest the following criteria for deciding whether to carry out an impact evaluation.

i) innovative – using a new or revised theory of change

ii) verification – for programs that perhaps are mainstream, but have not been evaluated and the effectiveness is in question

iii) scalable – if the program is replicable within the country, region and elsewhere

iv) flagship – if the program is strategically important and will use substantial resources

v) advocacy – if the program is meant to inform policy makers and decision makers.

An impact evaluation will provide the benefits of the program that can be included as part of the cost-benefit analysis. At IBG, an integrated approach to cost-benefit analysis measures benefits and costs for both the financial and economic appraisal.  

IBG provides the following services:

  1. Theory of Change – will work with partners in establishing how the interventions will deliver the desired results. The theory of change is important as it is the key to undertaking an impact evaluation;
  2. Results-Chain – will work with partners to set out the sequence of inputs, activities, and outputs that are expected to improve outcomes and ultimately the program impact;
  3. Performance Indicators – the use of the results-chain will allow for selecting the indicators that will be measured along the chain. IBG uses SMART indicators;
  4. Impact Evaluation Options – IBG works with partners to understand the tradeoffs of the various evaluation methods, which include:
    • Quasi-experimental 
      1. Difference-In-Differences
      2. Regression Discontinuity Design
      3. Matching
      4. Other
    • Experimental
      1. Randomized Selection Methods
  5. Implementation of the Impact Evaluation
  6. Independent Evaluator – validating results for results-based financing programs

Special Project - Women's Impact Network (WIN)

Many people who have donated to charity over the years are looking for new models of engagement that will allow them to be more involved and knowledgeable about the real impact of their donations. While financial donations will continue to be important there is also the opportunity to invest  in financing instruments, such as social and development impact bonds, that will make a repayment of the investment with a return. The best part is that the investment is for improving  education, health, nutrition and other basic needs.

At IBG, we want to understand how these new financing instruments can be most effectively used to achieve improved development results for children and communities. IBG intends to work with an interdisciplinary team of researchers and implementers to gather evidence on how different financing models, such as impact investing, provide the necessary incentives for improved project outcomes.

Between now and the planned launch of the investment clubs, IBG is working on the research protocols. Your support of this work is much appreciated. 

The following is an overview of how the investment clubs will work.

The IBG “Women’s Impact Network” is a Canadian investment club that will be opening chapters throughout Canada. Please contact IBG, if you would like to start a local club. No experience is required. An investment club is a great way to learn more about investing, while also contributing to the basic needs of children in developing countries. It allows club members to pool limited individual resources to invest in ways they could not on their own. IBG will provide the legal and technical help to get your club started. For more information on impact bonds, see Understanding Key Aspects of IBG Approach.

Although IBG will provide assistance in setting up the local clubs and helping to determine their goals, there are a few basic rules that will ensure the club runs well. These include:

  • Most development programs will take between 3 – 5 years to be implemented and to demonstrate sustainable evidence of impact. Investment group members should be committed to this timeframe. 
  • Usually, investment clubs meet monthly and will enjoy a social time, as well as a time to learn about the program’s progress and their investment. IBG provides updates for each of the meetings, with detailed reports available quarterly.
  • The investment club will elect a president, vice-president and treasurer, and will discuss and clarify with members their specific investment goals and other objectives. With the assistance of IBG, the club will also need to create a set of bylaws.
  • Most investment clubs will require a minimum monthly investment contribution. How much and how often contributions are made will depend on the group’s comfort level. IBG will help the club to make these decisions.
  • Most clubs will consist of around 20 members, but that will be a decision made by the club.
  • IBG will work with each club to get it established and to share information on program investments and on what we are learning through WIN.