This is the story of designing moments of collision between the private and civil sector professionals to initiate impactful partnerships.
The Technology Foundation of Turkey (TTGV), a government-supported 30-year-old foundation, aims to accelerate technology development and innovation activities in Turkey. Under their Pactport Program, they bring together civil society and private sector actors together to create scalable impact for complex problems. Knowing that both parties have preconceived assumptions regarding the other sector, we crafted a collision experience that would serve as a low-barrier entry point to the Pactport Program, allowing representatives from both sectors to discover the potential of collaboration without a high commitment and effort.
TTGV Pactport Program story showcases how collisions may lead to impact when designed with a purpose.
How to scale impact through designing experiences for cross-sectoral collision?
In a nutshell...
1- Define the purpose and value proposition of the experience
2- Identify the expected outcomes and metrics
3- Design and prototype the experience
4- Test and evaluate the impact
5- Keep iterating based on feedback
Unleashing Collective Intelligence
Founded in 1991, the Technology Foundation of Turkey (TTGV) is a leading foundation that aims to bring technology to the real world by supporting the technology development and innovation activities of the private sector in Turkey. In 2022, they initiated the Pactport program, designed to create a stakeholder ecosystem in which technology enables the creation of proactive solutions to tackle ongoing complex & multi-dimensional problems. Through their work in Pactport, TTGV brings civil society and the private sector to create scalable impact: fundamental changes for solving complex problems that are planned, systematic, sustainable, inclusive, transparent, and measurable.
Solving the world’s complex problems requires an iterative, adaptive, and multi-stakeholder approach. In such endeavors, it is essential to tap into the collective intelligence of various stakeholders from different fields of expertise. The only way out is through working together. Our work with civil and private institutions has pinpointed an immense opportunity if both sector representatives come together and collaborate around a common purpose. Yet, there is a catch; one of the critical constraints when it comes to cross-sectoral collaboration is that both parties do not have a clear understanding of how, when, and where they can contribute to the work of each other. Based on the purpose of the TTGV Pactport Program, we aimed to design a tailor-made experience for meaningful collisions between two sectors to trigger collaboration.
Here are five key steps to create such an experience:
Define the purpose and value proposition of the experience
Bringing different stakeholders together to collaborate in any context has many challenges. Many facilitators make the mistake of spending most of their time and effort solving problems of “how” and “where,” when in fact, the most critical question is “why.”
We often make the honest mistake of focusing on the form of the “event”; a networking event, a workshop, a webinar; whatever it is, we skip the essential part of what we aim to achieve with this particular endeavor. Given that we focus on the method, what happens next is that stakeholders do get together but cannot effectively collaborate or engage in inspiring dialogues. Usually, a common pitfall that leads such initiatives to fail is confusing the program’s goal. When defining the purpose of any gathering, the key is to understand the stakeholders’ motivation and needs on a human level.
At TTGV Pactport, we started with participant observation in other Pactport programs and secondary research to develop the value proposition for each stakeholder and align on the purpose of the gathering. Our purpose was to create a space where private sector experts discover the impact they want to create by coming together with individuals from civil society working on impact projects.
Bringing individuals together from civil society/working on scalable impact and the private sector might be a challenge as there are a lot of misconceptions vis-a-vis the other party. To overcome this challenge, we identified specific value propositions for each stakeholder:
For the private sector experts, we aimed to offer an experience where they can discover their priorities for the social impact. This would lead to a deeper engagement with the program and allow them to envision what role and expertise they could specifically contribute.
For the participants from civil society and individuals currently working on solving a complex problem, our goal was to make sure that they could identify what expertise they were seeking and discover possible individuals/experts to address that need.
Identify the expected outcomes and metrics
Each experience is an intervention; participants are not expected to be the same when they leave it. As such, once the value proposition is defined, the next step is to determine the changes we would like to see for each stakeholder. When designing an experience, mostly this step is skipped. Jumping right into the design without knowing the outcomes is trying to build a house without determining which room will serve for what.
Defining the outcomes is tricky and should be done through the lens of the stakeholders. A few guiding questions might help to develop the outcomes:
– What new perspectives/awareness do you want your participants to gain?
– What are the new behaviors you want to observe in your participants?
– What would be the results when participants acquire these new behaviors/perspectives/awareness?
Another critical point to consider when pinpointing outcomes is considering the scope and time frame. This way, you can categorize the immediate, long term or systematical changes that might occur on various levels; for the participants, the organization, and the ecosystem as a whole.
At TTGV Pactport, we identified various outcomes for each stakeholder. For private sector experts, we defined outcomes such as discovering their priorities for impact, motivation for deeper engagement with the topic, and awareness of how they could contribute to the complex problem with their expertise. For the participants from civil society/working on scalable impact, we defined outcomes such as their awareness of possible expertise and technologies they could leverage to scale/accelerate their impact and discover new perspectives vis-a-vis their current work.
Design and prototype the experience
Based on your defined purpose, value proposition, and expected outcomes, you are ready to answer key questions about your ideal experience. Who will be part of the experience? How many people should attend? Should we have an open call or specifically invite certain individuals? etc. The list can go on and on. But to answer these questions from a holistic point of view, crafting a journey map would be a great start:
– What are the key stages of this experience: e.g., Awareness, Participation, Follow-up.
– What are the key moments under each stage: e.g., Receiving an invitation, Checking in to the experience, Interacting during the experience, Completing a feedback survey, joining a community group as a follow-up.
– What operational tasks and tools will be used at each stage?: e.g., Online/On-site collaboration tools, Project Plan, Roles & Responsibilities.
Unsurprisingly, essential questions when designing a collision moment primarily revolve around what happens during the “event.” Taking collision as a serendipitous moment where individuals are inspired and transformed by the dialogue and get motivated to act, three important principles should be considered in the design:
1- Dialogue > Discussion: Participants should gain new perspectives with the motive of learning new things rather than focusing on their current point of view.
2- Inspiration > Solution: Participants should be able to find inspiration for a potential solution rather than crafting a specific solution.
3- Volunteer > Agent: Participants should be able to identify themselves as a change agent and get excited by their contribution to the potential impact, rather than feel like they are attending to just ‘help.’
When doing any design work, the first step is developing a prototype. Prototyping enables you to understand your stakeholders better and get insights you would not be able to discover otherwise. The key objective of the prototype should be to validate your design decisions and see if they are working in line with your purpose & generate the intended outcomes you developed.
At TTGV Pactport, we strived to create an environment to trigger meaningful collisions, which would be the starting point of a potential collaboration. That’s how our design concept, “Impactful Encounters,” was born and prototyped. We designed the experience in line with Art of Hosting principles and adopted the Open Space Technology methodology. This methodology enables the participants to involve in meaningful dialogues, which can trigger a profound perspective change. Based on the method, we worked through a journey process on who we would involve in the experience when it would take place, and our follow-up action plans. We co-ideated on the invitation text, the flow of the event, who to invite, and how to tap into Pactport’s already existing ecosystem, as well as chose a meaningful theme for the members and invited impact agents to come up with their questions that they would address to the participants.
Test and evaluate the impact
In most cases, when an event brings people together, success is defined as how many people come & how likely they are to attend again. Indeed they are important metrics of success, yet what matters is being able to assess if the impact you wanted to create indeed happened. It is impossible to accurately understand whether the experience reached desired outcomes without designing an impact assessment process. This process comprises two levels of assessment; (i) the experience (Evaluation of timing, format, exercises, and general impressions) and (ii) the outcomes (Assessment of to what extent the outcomes have been achieved). For this process to work out, a prerequisite is to ideate on what would be the indicators that would prove whether the outcomes were reached. For each indicator, it is imperative to identify the data source, the means of data collection (survey, interview, etc.), and the extent to which the data would be significant (anecdote, statistics, etc.).
At TTGV Pactport, we chose to prototype the design experience through a 90-minute gathering “Impactful Encounters.” We designed a pre- and post-experience survey and a participant observation sheet for the HMD & TTGV representatives to complete their observations. Moreover, we crafted questions for the closing circle not just to “check out” but also to gather insights on the experience’s impact.
For the participants, we evaluated whether they discovered their priorities for social impact, whether they are more aware that they can create solutions for complex problems and learn how, and whether they find collaboration opportunities to create impact and be motivated to contribute further.
For the civil society participants, we evaluated whether they meet new fields of expertise regarding the current area they are trying to solve problems, whether they gain new perspectives on their problem, and whether their awareness of how to harness technology when tackling these problems increases.
Impactful Encounters Participants
“It is exciting to generate a common understanding by considering different perspectives.”
“I feel stronger and creative together.”
Test and evaluate the impact
Through the impact analysis, you are now ready to make informed decisions about how the scale your initial design.
Following your analysis, it is important to translate what you learned into a development plan. No experience is finished with only one iteration; planning on how to develop further and scale is critical. Based on your learnings from your analysis, you can make adjustments in the design process and create new avenues for further testing & learning.
Once you are set with your iteration, the experience can further build on your strategic roadmap. This roadmap should focus not only on the experience itself but how this experience has the potential to create change in the ecosystem it is in and its potential effect on your current methodologies, tools, programs, etc.
At TTGV Pactport, we pinpointed several instances for improvement and how to integrate the experience into the strategy of the Pactport program in the short, mid, and long term. We also crafted various quantitative indicators for the TTGV team to further monitor in the long term. With new iterations along with the monitoring data, the experience is can be tailored and improved in line with the needs of the stakeholders of the program.
– Concept prototype developed and tested with 21 participants
– 27 actions co-ideated throughout the prototype
– 100% referral rate for the program after the prototype
– Impact assessment tools & surveys tailored to the experience
– Extensive impact assessment report including key findings of the prototype
– Strategic roadmap for dissemination and further testing of the experience