Facing intense competition in the charitable giving space, The Australian Red Cross society needed to deliver more innovative products to market. Australian Red Cross IT, in an effort to better support the organisation's innovation objectives, needed to modernise systems and technology by integrating data and migrating to the cloud.
As with many charities, available resources for transformation and capability building initiatives are often limited. Acting on previous strategic recommendations, The Australian Red Cross IT would leverage agile ways of working to build cross-functional teams with the capability of supporting multiple modernisation initiatives. In addition to the new modernisation initiatives was the requirement to continue supporting existing BAU and hardening security systems.
Leveraging our Visual Strategy Framework, we worked with the Australian Red Cross leadership team to map their current environment, develop our guiding principles for the desired future position and define a cohesive set of actions resulting in the following improvements:
There isn’t a 'one-size-fits-all' solution when it comes to adopting a new system of work to enable product innovation and platforms. We partnered with the leadership team and used a collaborative process to design one that was authentic to the Red Cross. Leveraging industry best practice and our agnostic delivery framework, we helped the Australian Red Cross IT create their own delivery framework and portfolio process. We also provided recommendations and guidance on how to adapt and change it over time.
Combining the training, coaching and mentoring allowed Red Cross to bring the new way of working to life at scale, and move the organisation to a modern, value-first method of portfolio prioritisation.
The shift to a product innovation and platform oriented way of working provided an opportunity for talented individuals to step into leadership roles as chapter leads, overseeing and supporting capability across the board. Six product owners were chosen through a process of self-selection to look after the squads within IT.
We successfully implemented a consistent cadence across the board with IT-wide ceremonies, including product owner forums, showcases and fortnightly planning days.
Furthermore we saw improved collaboration and transparency between teams and through the organisation. We helped the Australian Red Cross IT identify new focus areas and bring proactive initiatives to life.
Fragmentation of the charitable giving marketplace and significant competition from digital-first social enterprises has accelerated the demands on charities to move from “keeping the lights on” to “design and deliver world-class digital platforms and products”. Meeting these demands requires a significant shift in thinking and a re-organisation of existing resources to meet future demands.
A culture of innovation cannot be transplanted, it must be grown and protected over time. We learned to identify top performers and create an environment that empowers them to thrive while influencing others to shift culture. This requires a flatter structure and mission-oriented teams that are self-directed.