Moving an Impact Evaluation Firm into a New Era
We helped ORS Impact establish a new vision as they begin their third decade of social impact evaluation.
Incorporated in 1992 as Organizational Research Services (ORS), this evaluation consultancy had earned a national reputation for its outcomes-based planning and evaluation work with luminary philanthropies, government agencies and departments, and corporate clients.
As measurement, learning and evaluation are increasingly embedded in organisational behaviour and performance assessments, the company’s leadership was asking a simple question: What is ORS 2.0? It was important to them to include the next generation of leadership in an extended conversation about the company’s future development, to establish a new vision and strategic plan for the company, and to update the ORS brand to meet the standards of a new century, and the new demand for impact evaluation both in the nonprofit and responsible business sectors.
How We Helped
We began by convening a Turning Point™ gathering—a three-day retreat with the company’s leadership and a cross-section of internal and external stakeholders. The gathering was custom designed with the sole purpose of answering the question, “What is the vision for ORS 10 years from now?” Drawing on the diverse experience of the ORS team, outside parties such as allies and clients, and the contrarian views of a carefully selected group of invited guests, we imagined a series of future scenarios and built to a consensus on the best route forward for the company.
Next, we worked in partnership with the leadership team to develop a three-year strategic plan that will see the firm refocusing its work in its traditional markets, and entering the realm of responsible business—a rapidly growing space, where impact evaluation is increasingly in demand.
Since the public face of a company’s strategy is its brand, our next step was to develop a new brand identity, which included an updated name for the organisation: ORS Impact. The brand has its foundation in the vision and strategic plan, including a well-articulated collection of guiding principles that collectively give boundaries to the strategic planning and lend character to the brand.
We developed a diverse range of supporting outreach and engagement materials, including a corporate identity package, print collateral and a streamlined but scalable microsite to introduce the new brand. We also developed an online engagement strategy, which rolled out through late 2013 and will continue in 2014.
The new ORS Impact brand was launched in advance of the annual Social Capital Markets conference in San Francisco, in September 2013.
To support the launch, ORS produced a paper, ‘Getting More from Measurement: Five Insights for Social Innovators,’ capturing some of their key learning from nearly a quarter century of impact evaluation and learning. Its focus on measurement, learning and evaluation planning is the first step in reaching out to ORS’s target audiences, and positioning the company as ‘thought partners for social innovators.’