Oberscherli, SwitzerlandOberscherli, Switzerland

Design Quality versus Time

Imagine, in late October you would be requested to assume a mandate to help design a 200 million CHF alliance development programme with 6 independent NGO-partners who had no previous track record of joint cooperation and were fundraising competitors all these years, and the proposal would have to be completed within 7 weeks, would you consider to accept? I did, but this venture was risky, frame conditions by the donor agency partly fuzzy and the common ground between the interested parties all but clear at the onset.

However, and to the credit of the participating NGOs, the intensive collaboration quickly unveiled a strong committment to achieve the ambitious common goal, to pool competencies and experience without restrictions, to be ready for compromise and fast decisions and to deliver with data, by-products and conceptual clarifications where necessary. Although many of the teams have invested numerous evening hours and weekends into the project, there was no sign of exhaustion or frustration along the journey. It has been remarkable to note how time pressure has facilitated keeping track on the priorities, avoiding to get lost in ideological debate or design details and to contribute with best possible means, minds and materials to the common goal. Not all steps of best-practice-programme-design have fitted into this squeezed itinerary, but the sense of accomplishment after having compiled the final draft documents was widely shared. 

Remains the patience to see if the proposal meets with all the criteria set forth by the funding agency - a period about double that one for the elaboration of the programme. Let's cross fingers in the name of the primary target groups, the left-behinds in poor and fragile countries who have been by-passed by globalisation and evaded from access to productive resources and services.

                                                                        Martin Sommer
                                                                        Owner Consultant devolutions Ltd.