With offices in 15 countries, dozens of different priorities, and work streams involving thousands of people, Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA) faced a big job when it set out to align its people around a shared strategy and set of organizational objectives.

The Acuity Project worked with IPA’s senior leadership and field staff in each country as well as top executives in their New Haven, Connecticut headquarters. Our job was to help country directors determine how to advance the global strategy while also staying connected to local needs and opportunities, front-line staff, and all the people IPA’s work touches around the world. We had to be strategically focused while encouraging new ideas and innovation.

We worked with in-country management teams to make strategic planning as co-creative as possible, bringing in voices from governments, donors, NGOs, researchers, private sector partners, and the people whose lives IPA’s poverty alleviation-oriented research is meant to touch. We solicited in-depth insights on existing work and local contexts, but also allowed teams the leeway to aspire to more: Stakeholders envisioned projects that could fill gaps on the horizon, and partnerships that could leverage the strengths of each participant for greater future impact.

Together, we developed individualized country strategies and action plans spanning the 15 nations where IPA operates. Each plan met local needs, identified new partnerships, capitalized on local strengths and opportunities, all while aligning with IPA’s global priorities. Each country team now has clear strategic direction and overarching priorities, as well as concrete annual objectives and metrics to track progress, as they seek local solutions to global poverty.