A breakout session at PI's Theory U

Strengthening a Movement with Presencing Institute

The Presencing Institute (PI) creates social technologies, builds capacities, and generates holding spaces for profound societal renewal. This community works to shift the economy from ego to eco, and toward serving the well-being of all. PI’s framework, Theory U, says that the quality of the results that a system creates is a function of the awareness from which the people in that system operate. PI has helped create a global ecology of laboratories, projects, programs, and initiatives that link partners in business, government, and civil society. The online community of PI has grown to over 70,000 members. This includes the work in the U.school which is as a global platform for helping a new generation of eco-system entrepreneurs to act more creatively and intentionally and to be more connected.

IMAGO worked with the PI team in February 2017. Our challenge was to help them think about a scaling up strategy that provides PI with the tools to reach more people while maintaining their commitment to the movement. There is a global growing movement that embraces the shift from ego to eco that Otto Scharmer and Katrin Kaufer describe so well in Leading From the Emerging Future . Otto’s thought leadership has become especially important at this time of transition from an old system to the emergence of a new world, which we are still trying to understand.

There are many amazing prototypes of innovative ways to provide well-being for all, especially at the grassroots level and the Base of the Pyramid where IMAGO does most of its work. Scaling up PI’s impact in the world is a way to connect these prototypes of the new world in such a way that a new system can emerge. The work IMAGO did with PI was designed to find a way to grow this movement, building a sustainable business model that can reach more people, including those that are not part of the educated elite.

Poverty Stoplight Family

Participatory Poverty Elimination with Fundación Paraguaya

Fundación Paraguaya is a self-sustainable NGO that has spearheaded microfinance and entrepreneurship in Paraguay for the last 30 years. It works with practical innovations to eliminate poverty including: a micro-credit program that serves nearly 90,000 micro-entrepreneurs, a program for entrepreneurial education for young people, and a program for self-financed farming high schools in Paraguay and the rest of the world.

One of its most recent innovations is the Poverty Stoplight, which is powerful tool in overcoming one of poverty’s toughest challenges — behavior change at the individual level .

IMAGO has been working since August 2016 with the Poverty Stoplight on a scaling up strategy that should make the Stoplight a global reference of choice for participatory poverty analysis and action. This five year strategy defines the specific steps that are needed to make the Stoplight’s methodology translatable across different cultural and economic contexts as well as financially self-sustaining across the world.

The Poverty Stoplight, and the amazing and hard-working people behind it, sparks the capacity to change the world one step at a time with the poor at the center of the diagnosis and in charge of deciding actionable plans to change the many dimensions of poverty.

IMAGO field visit with Seva Mandir in Rajasthan

Strategic Review of Seva Mandir

Seva Mandir is a grassroots organization that implements programs across more than 700 villages in southern Rajasthan. The programs seek to improve people’s material well being as well as cultivate stronger communities. It has worked for decades in some of the poorest parts of Rajasthan, committed to furthering social justice, improved living conditions, gender equality and equitable deliberative local processes. It has had an special emphasis on managing common resources, of pastureland and forestry, and providing basic health and education services.

Through extensive consultation with Seva Mandir’s management team, thorough review of existing documentation, and field visits, IMAGO’s team provided a strategic review of the organization’s past, present, and future strategy. The reflective and collaborative process came at a unique time as shifts in the external environment in which Seva Mandir operates impact both the people it serves and the demands on the organization itself.

IMAGO’s report recognized the many strength’s that make Seva Mandir such a vital and sustainable organization in the thousands of communities that it serves. It also revealed a few key choices and strategic tensions that Seva Mandir faces moving forward.

Seva Mandir welcomed the challenges that the review posed with open arms and seem ready and willing to move forward with the changes that will allow them to continue to serve the people of Rajasthan.

Read Seva Mandir’s newsletter article on the strategic review process with IMAGO.

Social Enterprises Workshop in Kenya

In collaboration with the Social Enterprise Innovation program at the World Bank, IMAGO developed a course to generate awareness and bring about change in key developing countries with large gaps in service delivery that could be filled by social entrepreneurs. The course aims to connect social entrepreneurs and policymakers, by helping them to understand each other’s perspectives and appreciate the impact that can come from working together.

The course is targeted at policymakers who seek to know more about the role and impact of social entrepreneurs. Social enterprises offer new ways of solving service delivery problems through technological changes and innovative business models.

The most recent course took place in Nairobi in early 2016. Participants included policymakers from Kenya, Benin, and Ethiopia. IMAGO is partnering with the World Bank to turn the workshop into an e-learning course.

PRADAN and Transforming Rural India

A team from PRADAN (Professional Assistance for Development Action)—has formed a network of India’s leading NGOs who work at the grassroots on an integrated strategy of community mobilization, livelihoods, social development and market deepening–Transforming Rural India. IMAGO is working with the team that is preparing the theory of change and capacity building for scaling up of the new initiative, both within the core team and with the overall interaction with partner organizations.


The Self-Reliant Initiatives for Joint Action (SRIJAN) is an Indian NGO that supports the formation and development of women’s Self-Help Groups, with a focus on economic livelihoods. IMAGO is working with SRIJAN to identify the pre-conditions for scaling up its activities with Self-Help Groups including in particular the development of effective livelihoods of poor families and business development of community-owned producer companies in Horticulture, Agriculture and Dairy. The work involves capacity building as well as applying IMAGO’s scaling up framework to the organization’s commercial activities to provide sustainable income to the members of Self Help Groups. They now work with 40,000 families and want to scale up to 100,000.

Check out this video from IMAGO’s latest workshop with Srijan

SEWA sisters working to package spices


The Self-Employed Women’s Association is a union of poor women in the India’s informal sector, deeply grounded in Gandhian values, that has grown to 2 million members over the past 40 years. SEWA plans to scale to 4 million members in the next 10 years. Imago has been working with SEWA for nearly two years to prepare the organization for this rapid growth with a focus on building the necessary pre-conditions for scaling in a way that is consistent with their values. The work has included strategy work, capacity building, advice on IT, preparation for data integration and livelihood surveys. IMAGO has also worked with SEWA’s profit centers, including RUDI (rural marketing), TFC (handicrafts), and Geetanjali (stationary), on their business practices and plans as social enterprises.

Sierra Productiva

Sierra Productiva is a network of 55,000 indigenous farmers in the Peruvian highlands, that has an informal training and learning system led by Yachachiqs (members who teach other farmers). It has been working with an NGO, the Instituto para una Alternative Agraria on the adoption of 18 technologies that have been very successful in raising farm productivity. IMAGO has been working with the Yachachiqs and the NGO on a vision for the program and on preparing project proposals for their products.