My first post in the series on the seven phases of creating the APO’s Strategy Development Approach explained the need for the Secretariat to adopt a more structured, insight- and evidence-based approach to help member countries achieve Vision 2020, meet their needs and expectations, and increase the level of engagement.
A clear understanding of and agreement on the goals the APO and NPOs want to achieve together are important to clarify the structure of our strategies and finalize actions for the “to-do” list. Clear, unambiguous definitions of objectives will also help identify factors directly and indirectly influencing and constraining strategic initiatives, as well as prioritize strategic development efforts, initiatives, and programs.
The “assess” phase, as the next step in the strategic planning process, will allow member countries to gain “deep insight into the starting position of the APO.” In other words, while it is important to define the objectives, needs, and expectations of stakeholders by asking the right questions, many elements of strategic plans depend on understanding the value proposition of the APO and its uniqueness in supporting member countries in efforts to improve productivity. The right question to ask at this phase is: “Where and why does the APO create value?” The answer to this is aimed at deciding the current position or the baseline.
The APO Strategic Planning Workshop will be the right opportunity for the Secretariat and NPOs to share insights gained from their numerous initiatives, successes, and failures as well as the strategic directions defined by member countries. For the APO to succeed in the future, it is critical to align all of its strategic initiatives for multiplier effects.
The assess phase will also help the APO to question, debate, and deliberate on current initiatives, including the Centers of Excellence, Technical Expert Services, training courses, study missions, Demonstration Company Program, bilateral cooperation initiatives, and programs for strengthening of NPOs. This phase should involve objective assessments of program effectiveness, success factors, and strategies that helped the APO achieve their objectives.
Business strategy is all about using uncertain information to make unalterable choice that best creates and captures economic surplus and value. However, to be able to use the foresight for mapping the trends, their driving forces and analyzing them to decide the future action points, organizations need to first understand the factors that help create value proposition unique to them.
While the Secretariat has refined the process of gathering insights from program implementation, the Strategic Planning Workshop will serve as neutral ground for the APO to dissect, test, and validate what we have learned. This will help avoid future pitfalls while making it easy to deal with underlying problems, and replicate successful models.