The Boys & Girls Club of Greater Lowell project in 2002 used strategic systems mapping and idiagrams to engage the leadership of a very impactful nonprofit, serving over 200 kids in Lowell, MA (USA), and on the brink of financial collapse, in a strategic renewal. This required quick wins towards long-term health. The process brought the board and faculty together to revision the board, its role, and the work of the faculty with the board to invigorate fundraising and community building. From then with 1 month of funding until the doors were shut to now with new buildings and an endowment to increase its financial resilience, the Club came together to imagine and materialize a healthier future, doubling the population of boys and girls served.
Initial Project Description
In this 21-minute exploration, Luz Maria provides an overview of the project, the 1-year process with a follow up 2 years later, key insights, key experiences or shifts in the participants, and potential and documented impacts.
ISC Live Lab Co-investment and Return on Co-investment
Context. In 2002, we had just published the book Managing from Clarity. We had refined our understanding of strategic systems mapping, and we were actively developing the synthetic analysis method for identifying systemic leverage points, and how it could be used with community-based strategic processes.
Co-investment. In this multi-year relationship with the Boys & Girls Club, we co-invested our intellectual property of strategic systems thinking and community-engagement processes.
Return on Co-investment. The return on this co-investment was refining our processes and tools for engaging multi-lingual communities in taking up a long-term systemic strategy for the development of their own community.