System mapping with the Financiera Sustentable team.

Financiera Sustentable, Mexico

Preparing to Scale with Financiera Sustentable

Financiera Sustentable (FS) started operations in February 2013, with a team of two people, supporting public transporters to acquire new trucks by using natural gas vehicles. Today, FS is a team of 80 people and with a diversified portfolio of products, still specializing in public transportation micro-entrepreneurs. The organization’s long-term focus is on small businesses and micro enterprises that support the base of the pyramid. These types of business are often excluded from access to traditional financing structures but have the potential for greatest impact.

After five years of operations and rapid growth, Financiera Sustentable is collaborating with IMAGO to collectively take stock of their potential for the future. A primary focus of IMAGO’s initial work with the organization is to forge a strategic direction for the next phase of Financiera Sustentable’s growth. This work includeds supporting FS staff and board to coalesce around a shared vision of how Financiera Sustentable can prepare to become a bank by 2030.

Photo of children laughing curtosey of OPHI

Oxford Poverty & Human Development Index, UK

The Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative (OPHI) is an economic research center within Oxford University. Established in 2007, OPHI aims to build and advance a more systematic methodological and economic framework for reducing multidimensional poverty, grounded in people’s experiences and values. OPHI works towards this by broadening poverty measurement, improving data on poverty, building capacity and impacting policy. OPHI’s work is grounded in Amartya Sen’s capability approach, creating real tools that inform policies to reduce poverty. OPHI’s team members are involved in a wide range of activities and collaborations around the world, including survey design and testing, quantitative and qualitative data collection, training and mentoring, and advising policy makers.

After 10 years of pioneering work on multi-dimensional poverty, OPHI has many active clients around the world, with interest from national governments, donor agencies, and private busiensses. But the organizations has found itself at a pivotal crossroads and will work with IMAGO to think strategically together about what should be the main focus for OPHI in the next five years.

Workshop participants engaging in how to scale up Early Childhood Development in Brazil

Crianca Feliz, Brazil

Scaling Children’s Health with Crianca Feliz

Crianca Feliz is a program established by the Fundación Maria Cecilia Souto Vidigal to support early childhood development. It has been implemented by the government at the municipal level in Brazil. However, the program’s success and its integrative approach, which pulls in health, education and social welfare stakeholders, has resulted in an interest in scaling the program throughout Brazil.

IMAGO worked with key stakeholders and policy makers to apply the scaling up framework to the Crianca Feliz program and understand the key actors necessary to for the program to succeed as it grows.

Dance Place workshop contact improv

The Dance Place, USA

Thriving Through Transition with The Dance Place

The Dance Place builds a community of artists, audiences and students, committed to enriching the field of dance locally, nationally and internationally and the thriving arts campus serves as an anchor in the evolution and development of their neighborhood in Washington, DC.

IMAGO worked with Dance Place as the organization began the transition from their founding director to new leadership, supporting the Dance Place board members and staff in the cultivation of a sense of place that extends beyond the iconic and charismatic leadership.

El Sistema Orchestra performing with G. Dudamel conducting

El Sistema, Venezuela

Changing Lives Through Music, El Sistema

El Sistema is a publicly financed social program founded more than 40 years ago in Venezuela. The program promotes the values of citizenship and fosters access and social inclusion for children and young people across sectors and social classes through the instruction and collective practice of music. Today, El Sistema reaches approximately 700,000 young musicians across Venezuela, it’s youth orchestra travels the world performing and its ideas and methods have made inroads in countries and communities around the globe.

In the summer of 2017, El Sistema worked with IMAGO to explore the potential for growing its international reach and brand, while holding on to the passion and mission of the founding movement — to touch the lives of young people from all walks of life. IMAGO’s work with a core group of staff and stakeholders collaboratively examined the the El Sistema’s programmatic essence, business model, and theory of change in the global context.

IMAGO co-founder Isabel Guerrero with Maasai Solar Sisters in Tanzania

Solar Sister, Tanzania

Solar Sister: Building Livelihoods, Women’s Empowerment & Energy Access

Solar Sister eradicates energy poverty by empowering women with economic opportunity. The organization combines the breakthrough potential of clean energy technology with a deliberately woman-centered direct sales network to bring light, hope and opportunity to remote communities in rural Africa. IMAGO started working with Solar Sister in the fall of 2017 with the shared goal of discovering what is required to take Solar Sister’s innovative business and distribution model to scale. We had the amazing opportunity to work with both the organization’s highlighly talented country managers and staff as well as their passionate and committed board.

The business model that Solar Sister is testing offers a new and wonderful approach that could unleash the potential of women on the frontlines of poverty and help turn around the traditional view of aid dependency. Solar Sister makes the poor agents of change by providing capacity, income generating opportunities, a network of women that build on each other’s strength, and an example of how the sun is a positive and sustainable way to bring light to the poorest of the poor.

The PCIC team contemplates the beginning of thier system map during IMAGO workshop

Patient Care Intervention Center, USA

Improving Healthcare Safety Nets with PCIC

Patient Care Intervention Center (PCIC) is a non-profit organization whose mission is to improve healthcare quality and costs for the vulnerable at the community level through data integration and care coordination.

PCIC identifies the gaps in care coordination and provides a framework for measurable outcomes, improvement and cost reduction. The organization works across disciplines and creates a more effective safety net system for Harris County (Texas) patients.

IMAGO’s work with PCIC began in 2016, collaborating to help enhance the system-wide organizational infrastructre to measure and meet the needs of the High Needs Health Care Patients. IMAGO’s continuing work with PCIC will include support in creating the conditions to sustainably scale up PCIC’s unique health systems intervention to reach more frontline health care workers and patients.

Cinepop's inflatable screens

Cinepop, Mexico

Exploring new business models for scale with Cinepop

Cinepop is a remarkable social enterprise bringing entertainment to low income groups, as a mechanism for strengthening community in Mexico. Cinepop’s unique service brings huge inflatable screens to show films for free in low income Mexican municipalities, where many small towns, cities and neighborhoods in Mexico still have limited or no access to a cinema.

IMAGO worked with Cinepop as the organization explored shifting their business model to one that was more diversified, more consistent, and potentially less extractive interaction with Mexico’s poor.

CINEPOP is a true base of the pyramid social enterprise, in both the “social” and “enterprise” sense. Bringing community together provides scope social cohesion as well as specific social action, such as educating the community on health and nutrition information.  The enterprise part, in the spirit of the Prahalad’s original formulation of the Base of the Pyramid as a market opportunity, involves offering marketing services to large firms who want to reach the low-income part of the market. The cinema itself is central as a focal, convening point, but is only one part of a sophisticated marketing system.

IMAGO is proud to have been a part of this exploratory phase for Cinepop as they consider remaking their endeavor in the face of changing funding models and adherence to thier true social enterprise mission.

A breakout session at PI's Theory U

Presencing Institute, USA

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.

IMAGO field visit with Seva Mandir in Rajasthan

Seva Mandir, India

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.