Advancing IDEAS at the BlueGreen Alliance
Over the course of 12 months, IDEAS Generation (IG) partnered with the BlueGreen Alliance (BGA) to assess the organization’s culture with respect to IDEAS, develop an IDEAS* vision statement with an accompanying strategy, and set the foundation for ongoing work through the creation of an IDEAS ‘container.’ The IG team was comprised of Dan Egol (Project Lead), Sage Drennon (Strategist), Desi Carson (Consultant and Facilitator), Kelly Wyche (Consultant and Facilitator) and Minal Bopaiah (Advisor).
IDEAS Generation was selected through a public request for proposal process funded by the Hewlett Foundation to partner with the BlueGreen Alliance (BGA), which was experiencing a period of rapid organizational growth.
Having nearly doubled in size in the months leading up to our partnership, BGA was primed to assess and embed IDEAS into its culture and practices as the foundation of continued organizational growth. Because this growth took place during the COVID pandemic, the organization was also seeking proactive and sustainable ways to foster connection and an IDEAS-centered culture amongst new and tenured colleagues located across the United States.
To support BGA, the IG team conducted a comprehensive IDEAS assessment, including a review of internal programmatic and HR data (for example: equity platform, exit interviews, and strategic plan), focus groups and interviews with all staff members, and a full team survey. This partnership also entailed a series of interactive workshops designed to foster a context or ‘container’ in which BGA’s ongoing IDEAS efforts can be sustained. Sessions topics covered relationships and belonging, fostering & repairing trust, and identifying & navigating power dynamics. Upon completion of the assessment and container sessions, IG facilitated a series of visioning labs to support BGA in articulating both a vision for their IDEAS work and an operating plan to bring it to life.
Approach & Solutions
As a result of these efforts, BGA was able to benchmark the current state of IDEAS in the organization while enrolling the entire team in efforts to co-create an intention and roadmap for the future. A key recommendation stemming from the planning process was the creation of an internal IDEAS related role, which has been incorporated at the executive level of the BGA team. In partnership with the BGA team, this role will carry forth the various aspects of IDEAS plan, which centers around: long-term IDEAS sustainability, fostering a culture of belonging, supporting staff learning and development, revamping the onboarding process and other parts of the employee life cycle, integrating an IDEAS lens into BGA’s coalition relationships, and activating these values in the organization’s policy and advocacy efforts.
*Please note that BGA uses DEIJ: Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, Justice as its organizational framing for this work. We have substituted our framework in the description of this case study for consistency.