Department of Unusual Certainties empowers transformation through curiosity and design

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ActionAid Denmark Program Review

ActionAid Denmark (AADK) positively impacts and assists people in over forty five countries—fighting poverty and working for justice and equal rights. ActionAid’s Global Platform program creates worldwide education centers offering courses on: human rights, global citizenship, entrepreneurship, volunteering, communication and social media, with the goal of empowering youth. AADK was looking to complete an organizational review to understand what internal activities could be strengthened and where improvements could be made. Partnering with ActionAid Denmark, our team developed a project based on service design methods and processes that involved the participation of key stakeholders through research, interviews and workshops. Our approach focused on identifying and illustrating solutions to address a central question: what are the ways we can empower global partnerships and help strengthen international Global Platform projects?


Project phase one involved interviewing Global Platform Managers, Country Directors and influential Stakeholders, and conducting secondary desk research to clarify the direction for the next phases of the project. Using an affinity diagram, we categorized large amounts of collected data to help develop an easily understood overview that could be shared and highlight key findings. The affinity diagram helped us organize the data to quickly establish patterns and themes in the information and use it to inform future steps in the project.

For project phase two our team designed and facilitated a series of workshops involving key stakeholder groups. Workshops encourage participants to explore creative idea-generation through hands-on activities, and the ideas developed led to the co-creation of the final data report. Applying brainstorming activities, workshop one focused on inspiring stakeholders to consider new effective partnerships for Global Platform. Next, at workshop two, staff were involved in reviewing current messaging and defining a core value proposition for Global Platform. We understood that, in order to develop the most effective solutions that included the ideas and perspectives of company leaders and garnered support across the organization, it was important to empower AADK to generate and co-create solutions as a team. With DoUC facilitating further discussions and activities, the AADK team and Country Directors involved in the third workshop co-created a final plan rooted in strategy, tactics and operations that focused on reaching strategic goals. The plan included insights and recommendations surrounding prioritizing goals and restructuring the administrative process.

Combining insights identified in project phases one and two, a data report summarizing findings and recommendations for strengthening Global Platform activities was created as the final phase of the project. Included in the report were a clear value proposition, simplified solutions and tools for assisting projects. The report incorporated valid recommendations that came directly from community groups who utilize Global Platform projects and ideas generated by key Global Platform stakeholders and management. By understanding the positive value of uncovering and incorporating the needs and wants of community groups who are directly affected by Global Platform projects, our approach to the creation of the final report was able to provide the AADK team with a clear and concise toolkit for addressing the expressed desires of community groups, leading to better partnerships and networks.

Working with experiences and collaborative processes, the ActionAid DK/DoUC team brought stakeholders, staff members and user groups together to learn, witness new perspectives and develop ideas. At the conclusion of the project, all stakeholders were able to come to the consensus that focusing on partnerships is the most effective way of creating sustainable Global Platform development projects.

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