“I think the only thing that will give us greater certainty (for the future) is we’ve got to start where we are, and for me, that is in the core. We cannot do any development or humanitarian work if the core is not protected. And what is the core? It is our organization. There’s a lot of reinvention and repurposing that’s got to happen.”

In this episode of Chasing Impact, MzN Senior Consultant Carolin Gomulia interviews Reana Rossouw, the owner of Next Generation Consultants, a leading South African Management Consulting firm with a wealth of experience in the social innovation, shared value, humanitarian and sustainable development environments. They discuss how professionals in the development and humanitarian ecosystem can prepare for the future, more specifically:

  • hindsight, insight and foresight as three concepts that drive future thinking
  • key trends that define the post-covid world:
    • how finance will be structured in the future
    • actual development practice (inclusivity, equality)
    • climate change and environmental impact
    • stakeholders and investors are becoming developers themselves and not just funders
    • NGOs are moving from a not-for-profit to a for-profit models
    • blended and innovative financial models
    • changing sentiment in our sector, decolonizing aid/ trade vs. aid, power struggles,
    • interconnectedness and intersectionality (e.g. war in Ukraine and anticipated recession
  • what organizations should do to respond to these trends:
    • multigenerational development, including the youth to dictate the future of the sector
    • prepare for more risks, especially regarding climate change
    • embrace technology and digitalize our programs, e.g. in the development of the education and health care sector
    • become comfortable with new funding mechanisms
    • explore new organizational types (both not-for-profit and for-profit)
    • be able to prove our value by telling our impact story – impact management and measurement are essential
  • how organizations can make decisions in a world full of uncertainty:
    • “start where we are”, make sure the core – our organization – is protected, reinvented and repurposed to be equipped for change
    • look at the effectiveness of our programs and work
    • look outwards to see who can help us scale and leverage our resources
    • innovate and look at new opportunities
  • Give of the Givers as a good example of an NGO with a strong core mission (disaster response, to be first responders), the ability to use technology and humanity to mobilize the best resources in the world and leverage partnerships to deliver these services
  • three key things to focus on when preparing for the future:
    1. go deep – leave no stone unturned when looking at operations, programs, partners, etc.
    2. go wide – research the areas we are involved in, test our beliefs and assumptions, become comfortable with uncomfortable issues – go far and wide to make sure our solutions are fit for purpose for the future
    3. reinvent and innovate – ask yourself: in this new changed paradigm, what is your new value proposition? How is it different to what you have always done? How will you guarantee that you are the right person, the right organization, and that you have the right program to facilitate impact and change in the future?

Who is Reana Roussouw?

Reana is an alumnus of the University of Stellenbosch Business School. She has more than 30 years experience in business management at senior executive and director levels. Reana’s expertise lies in creating and implementing strategies for innovation, growth and sustainability. She has worked in several industry sectors including Donor/philanthropy and Grantmaking, social and impact investment, Information and Communication Technology, Mobile and Internet communications, financial services, mining, agriculture, manufacturing, retail and media.

Reana is a regular speaker at national and international conferences and has delivered various papers on her fields of expertise. She is also the author of three books and annually publishes Africa’s research report on the future and impact of the social development and investment sectors.

In recognition of her ground-breaking work in this arena, Reana is regarded as a visionary and one of Africa’s leading experts in the areas of sustainable socio-economic development, social innovation and impact management and measurement. Not only has she been published extensively, but she has also received several nominations and awards.

Over the past decade, Reana has developed Africa’s first impact assessment methodology and technology platform, the Investment Impact IndexTM, which measures the impact and return on investment of social and impact investment. This methodology is now applied across the continent by social and impact investors, donors and grantmakers.