The purpose of this guide is to help organizations create a framework for developing strategies, building partnerships, planning interventions, gathering evidence of success or failure and, most importantly, analyzing and learning from this evidence through open dialogue among constituents and stakeholders who have a real interest in change.

1Step 1
Develop a Vision of Success

• A vision of success is a clear picture of the achievable and sustainable future that the organization would like to see in the context in which it works.

• Creating a vision of success involves identifying the key players and then describing the desired behaviors, attitudes, capabilities, values and the relationships between them.

• The vision should focus on the changes in and between people, groups, and institutions that the organization can realistically influence. It should also be a snapshot of a complex and dynamic system.

• Activities for facilitating the process of creating a vision of success include creating an epitaph for the organization and painting in the detail what success would look like.

2Step 2
Mapping the Preconditions of Success

The guiding question is: What must happen in our context if our vision of success is to be realized?

• For each element in the vision of success, the organization needs to define the changes in the conditions, institutions, relationships, capabilities, attitudes, and behaviors that are considered essential for long term success.

• Brainstorming and grouping the preconditions of success can help in the process. By working backwards from the long-term strategic vision of success this process identifies the changes and processes that are absolutely necessary preconditions to achieving each element of success in the vision.

3Step 3
System Mapping

• System mapping is identifying those who are working for similar outcomes and an activity system is a network of actors who influence what happens in that context.

• System mapping the activity system should in collaboration with people who have a wide range of experience and perspectives of the system the organization is trying to influence.

A tool for system mapping is analyzing the dimensions of change, which helps organizations to examine their own assumptions and practice and distinguish the different dimensions of change that they currently address.

• After creating a system map, the organization should think about collaboration by placing actors on a “relationship continuum” from partnership to alignment. Thought should be given to the kind of relationship would be the most appropriate.

4Step 4
Theory to Strategy

• After creating a basic theory of change the organization should refine the theory of change in dialogue with its constituents and other stakeholders.

• The organization should begin to bring its strategies and programs in line with its theory of change.