We were writing a grant proposal for the Australia-Indonesia Facility for Disaster Reduction (AIFDR) to secure new funding for our 2014 activities. For this, we held an internal strategy meeting that inputs into a larger workshop with partners and stakeholders to solicit feedback on our 2014 plan.
Why we used the tools
Our intent was to brainstorm both how we can better service people and groups we currently work with and if there are new ones we have not thought about. Often in such situations, it is easy to get caught in the same line of thinking and not imagine new methods of outreach to different groups. I thought that the Personas and the Thinking Hats would be good ways to do that.
I used the SWOT Analysis also because I felt that I knew my views on our strengths and weaknesses, but not necessarily my team’s views. Having a firm understanding of how things stand from someone executing our programme tasks directly is vital.
How we used the tools
In a 5 hour long workshop, we broke into small groups to work through each of the tools and then re-convened to amalgamate our thoughts and sprinkle the new perspectives into elements of the grant proposal. Generally the group work was very positive and hugely beneficial to bring the team together in this manner – more fun than the typical brainstorming we do.
The SWOT Analysis worked really well with the team. After this we used the Personas worksheet – which was especially helpful. We are trying to figure out what changes need to be made to our programme to reach a wider audience, so we tried a couple of Personas that weren’t our current “customers” and got some great ideas.
With the Thinking Hats though, we hit a bit of trouble. Some of it might have been my explanation. I think if I do it again I would translate the names of the different hats into Indonesian first. Everybody in the team speaks English, but it might have been easier for them to grasp the concept of the hats in their native language.
Results of using the tools
The activity resulted in clear inputs that were assimilated into a co-written grant proposal. Looking deeper, we have a better sense of some internal processes that we can use to advance our planning documents with our staff and board – so that we can be more intentional about our innovation practice.
Tips for other people
Culturally adapt the tools to accommodate for varying degrees of English proficiency.