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What the tool is

This tool looks at the priorities and impact of other organisations involved in your area of work (sometimes called an ‘ecosystem’), so you can make informed choices about the types of relationships you might develop with them.

Why you should use it

No organisation can solve complex challenges alone. Understanding the focus of other organisations involved in your area of work will help you to understand:

  • what role you want to play in relation to others
  • opportunities to collaborate or work in partnership.

When you should use it

It’s worth refreshing your understanding of other organisations involved in your area of work each year.

How to use the tool

Depending on how much time you have, you could:

  • Use your own knowledge and research
  • Bring people together in a workshop to get a broader range of views
  • Interview people. If you are interviewing other organisations in your area of work, you can ask them about their priorities and their thoughts on a different future relationship with you

1.Define the scope and nature of your area of work as well as the people and communities you seek to serve and what they expect.

For example:

2. List the other organisations involved in your area of work. These could be: charities, commercial organisations, statutory organisations and, in certain situations, the ‘informal sector’ (friends, families and neighbours); they also may be competitors, suppliers or partners.

3. Develop an individual profile of each organisation. You can collect the information in a table.

Questions to ask:

  • What are their objectives and priorities?
  • What strategies are they pursuing? What might their plans be for the future?
  • What are their strengths and weaknesses?
  • What are the relationships like between the other organisations in your area of work?
  • What services do they provide?
  • Who do they seek to serve?
  • What’s their impact?
  • What is our relationship with them? None, collaborators, partners, competitors?
  • How might you create greater impact by reconsidering your relationship with them?

If you’d like to go deeper, follow these additional steps

4. Think about the two most important needs for the people and communities you seek to serve. What are the most important aspects of your service (or campaign) for them? What do they want most from you and others working with and for them?

For example:

  • being able to access the service immediately
  • having all their needs met in one place
  • having a tailored service based on their unique needs.

5. Once you’ve picked the top two, draw up a matrix showing each need:

See matrix on p29 of T4T

6. Plot out each of the other organisations and your own organisation on the matrix. You could draw a circle for each that gives an idea of relative size.

7. Reflect on what this shows you.

Questions to ask:

  • Where are the gaps?
  • Why are the gaps there?
  • Who should be filling them? What potential is there for funding to create new services to meet need?
  • How might you work with others to better meet need?
  • Where are the overlaps?
  • What are the options for change?
  • What are your options?
  • What is the best role you can play in relation to others?
  • What factors will affect your choice/decision making?
  • What further research do you need to do?

What to do next

You’ll now have a range of ideas about what you might do. You’ll also have more ideas if you’ve used other tools like PEST or SWOT. The next stage of the strategy process is to make good decisions. There are a number of tools to help.

Last reviewed: 04 July 2022

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This page was last reviewed for accuracy on 04 July 2022

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