These nine principles guide our efforts to build individual and organizational capacity

No two organizations are alike. Building capacity requires an approach that is suited to your organization's unique needs. These flexible, powerful principles guide our work. For additional details and a summary outcomes you can expect when engaging these key areas, read Capacity Unlimited's whitepapers on The Nine Capacity Builders (Full document PDF).

1. Create a Shift from capacity for a few to capacity for all (PDF)

Capacity isn’t just for chiefs anymore. Historically investment in development has been focused on those at the top of an organization, the formal leaders. We believe that real change occurs when capacity is developed throughout the organization/community to create collective efficacy for all. Not only will initial consensus for change result, but also sustainable capability for the long-term persistence required.

2: Diagnose: Capacity for What, for Whom, How? (PDF)

Aim, ready, fire. Too often, solutions are applied to an assumed problem. In order to build individual and organizational capacity in a strategic manner a thorough diagnosis of current strengths, needs, and goals is necessary. The following questions are initially explored:

  1. What are current challenges and opportunities for the organization?
  2. What are stakeholders perceptions about current needs, challenges and opportunities?
  3. What capacity needs to be built to move from the current state to the desired state?

3: Envision (PDF)

Gotta’ know where you’re coming from and where you’re going. Given a clear understanding of the problem, diverse stakeholders offer unique perspectives as they engage in an exploration of the multiple dimensions of the problem. Likewise they draw on their own experiential insights to envision scenarios for a preferred future. This analysis serves as an initial capacity audit to see where development is necessary and desirable.

4. Create and Innovate (PDF)

People have an unlimited capacity for creativity. We engage stakeholders in a design process of research, brainstorming, feedback loops and co-creation to generate multiple possibilities for action that can be taken to reach the preferred future.

5. Innovate and Prototype (PDF)

You can’t do everything but you must do something! Eventually choices are selected, prototypes piloted and action determined to address the problem.  Capacity has already been created through the design process and will continue to be created through the trial of innovation.

6. Measure, Monitor and Improve to Ensure Results (PDF)

Data drive everything. A system of data mining and carefully crafted measures is created to monitor progress, improve action and enhance results.

7. Empower everyone through information (PDF)

Rather than close to the vest, it’s open the chest. Capacity can’t be built upon fabrications or diversionary tactics. Building trust throughout the organization is foundational and trust is built through transparency, access, reliability and authenticity.

8.  Lead to Serve (PDF)

Serve one, serve all.  In order create collective capacity within an organization/ community, people need to feel worthy and valued. Leaders who serve address the needs of others before themselves. As a result they invest in others knowing that they hold the real solutions.

9. Create Networks (PDF)

A tightly woven net is exponentially stronger than a single string.  Building internal networks of collaboration within an organization or community becomes even stronger when partnerships extend externally.  Learning is a social function and the more diverse the inputs, the stronger the network and the greater capacity.

We take pride in utilizing these principles to guide our collective efforts. Rather than building dependence on our services, our goal is to support your autonomy so you and your organization have the capacity to more effectively achieve your goals into the future.

(Loosely adapted from: Pradhan, Sanjay. (2010). Catalyzing collective capacity for change: Ten points for a new operational approach to capacity development. Capacity Development Briefs: World Bank Institute.)