Engaging partners to scale
Research shows that 60 percent of organisations are above the medium on system shaping. Most have strong practices in beneficiary focus and partnerships, but efforts to drive and scale deeper innovation are not consistent across the sector.
Our latest report in collaboration with McKinsey & Company examines what makes a not-for-profit organisation “healthy”.
Research finds the sector has the potential to capitalise on its deep connections with partners and community to drive
greater innovation. To seize this opportunity, organisations need to build their strengths in three practices:
- understanding the value they offer and their place in the system;
- building mutually beneficial partnerships
- with stakeholders; and encouraging top-down and bottom-up innovation.
Generation Australia shares how by engaging partners to scale they can more effectively support their mission.
Case study – Generation Australia
The Australian arm of Generation, a global non-profit focussed on transforming the education-to-employment systems, captures bottom-up innovation and learning through frontline program delivery, and scales those lessons to shape the system through partnerships.
‘To have impact in education-to-employment pathways, you first need to understand your beneficiaries deeply, and demonstrate what works in shifting outcomes for them,’ explains CEO Malcolm Kinns. That is the rationale behind why Generation started with—and still runs—their own education-to-employment pathway programs.
‘In shaping the system, though, scale is key,’ says Kinns. Recognising the size of the adult education and training market, Generation Australia has recently partnered with social-impact investment firm FPIP and RTO operator Catalyst Education to develop and embed programs that utilise the key areas of Generation’s methodology on a larger scale.
At the same time, it is proactively engaging with leaders across government, business and the not-for-profit sector to translate what it’s learning about what works into sustainable, systemic change.
In this way, Generation Australia deliberately pursues work at three different levels of the system:
- ‘Delivered by Generation’, where it is the primary provider;
- ‘Powered by Generation’, where it partners with larger external organisations; and
- ‘Influenced by Generation’, where it engages with stakeholders across the system.
It is the combination of all three that allows Generation Australia to systematically uncover innovations that work on the ground, and rapidly scale them.
‘Achieving lasting change is about looking beyond our own organisations and building a pathway for new approaches to scale,’ says Kinns. ‘It’s a prerequisite to impact – not a “nice to have”.’
*About this research – The Australian Scholarships Foundation collaborated with McKinsey & Company for this research. The research was based on McKinsey’s ‘Organisational Health Index (OHI)’ diagnostic tool. McKinsey have used the OHI with 2000+ organisations (6 million+ responses) globally over two decades. The OHI measures how ‘healthy’ an organisation is. How it aligns around mission and strategy, executes with excellence, and renews itself to sustainably achieve its aspirations.
Findings are based on 4,000+ OHI survey responses across 37 prominent Australian social sector organisations. Also sector CEO roundtables and in-depth case studies on non-profits who are out-performing, even in the current environment.
Sharing stories to support organisational health
We’d like to share more insights like these to help improve not-for-profit staff capabilities and support organisational health and growth. If your organisation perform well at one or more of the three key capabilities this latest report has highlighted (talent growth, execution excellence and system shaping) we would love to hear from you. Please contact us if you are open/willing to share some of your insights and lessons with others in the sector.
Read more of our insights on not-for-profit capability building here.