Lee coaches a team to think differently while redesigning grants processes for a new system, thereby improving implementation success.
A nonprofit foundation knew they needed to upgrade their old grants system. An increasing number of high-touch grants were stressing the foundation’s capacity and margins. The foundation found it difficult to deliver on their promises of getting accurate grants out to their community with strong due diligence. Given the substantial cost of new software, this CFO needed the team to think differently about its processes in order to make each software investment worthwhile.
The CFO contacted IPD’s Lee Kuntz and conveyed the team’s goals and challenges. Lee then recommended a one-time deep dive training and coaching package to help the team identify various opportunities for improvement.
Lee kicked off the project by providing IPD’s four-hour Think Differently Concepts Training™ to a joint finance and grantmaking team. Through this training, attendees learned to spot wasted process steps and practices, moving from resisting to driving improvement. The CFO then selected a couple staff to participate in IPD’s four-hour Tools Training™, which enabled them to dissect and dramatically improve the next processes that would be automated through new software. This Tools training equipped foundation staff to develop the skills they need to conduct their own process improvement deep dive and identify their software needs the next time the organization adopted new software. This made the initial deep dive a one-time investment that will pay off for years.
Next, Lee coached the team through four days of meetings on how to achieve rapid improvements, completing a deep dive into the organization’s existing grants tools and processes. Through coaching and application of proven improvement tools, the team’s grants process of 125 steps was cut significantly to about 40 better steps. The coached team also identified the needed system enhancements. The foundation said IPD delivered the project on budget and on time.
The team then quickly and successfully rolled out its newly designed grants process by completing installing 30 system, process, policies, and roles improvement tasks over six months. Eliminating unnecessary steps in their processes meant they reduced the cost and complexity of the software installation. Following implementation, errors and reputational risk became minuscule, allowing the team to consistently deliver on promises to their community. They also recaptured about 2,000 hours of work time annually, enabling them to say ‘yes’ to new ideas from the president, board, and donors. In addition, with their new process transformation skills and increased confidence, this foundation continued refining other processes when it came time to install the next software.
These success stories demonstrate how Innovation Process Design's proven approach cures operational pain and creates measurable improvement for organizations that rely on a smooth delivery of services.