Formulate solution options
The strategic plan will consist of initiatives that are designed to make the transformation from the current situation to the situation that reflects the vision and goals that you have defined.
Therefore the formulation process should start with a thorough review of assessment results including the context. The review should focus not only on weaknesses, but on what works well. Experience shows that designs are often overly ambitious with too many activities scheduled into too short a period of time without adequately taking into account readiness for change and other constraints.
There are often strong pressures and incentives to produce an ambitious strategy, but this should be managed through dialogue and communication about the planning process and about what is realistic. Transformation usually depends on a number of simultaneous or parallel interventions. Taking a systematic and iterative approach to developing the strategy through a process of prioritisation with a focus on the end results, should result in a strategic plan that is realistically ambitious and achievable. The following steps can facilitate this process.
Using the assessment results as input and with the strategic vision and goals in mind, brainstorm possible solution options. It is important at this stage to focus on common and recurring issues and problems, as well as the root causes underlying current weaknesses and then design solutions that address those root causes, not just the symptoms. It can be a good idea to include stakeholders with different perspectives and competencies in this brainstorming process.
There are no blueprints! The strategic planning goal at this point is to produce a long-list of possible interventions. Be creative and also include non-conventional approaches to solutions.
Download the file "Examples of Options to Address Procurement Challenges" to support your work.
Once the long-list is developed it is then time to review it through different lenses. Preparing a matrix where the results of the various reviews are plotted is recommended. Review each initiative on the long-list according to the following parameters:
- Stakeholders: Who would be affected by this solution? What are their interests with regards to this initiative? What are their resources and power for influencing? What is their importance for the success? Download the file "Toolkit for Capacity Development" to support your work (see tool 5b).
- What result will be achieved from this initiative?
- How does this initiative link to or integrate with other reform initiatives or the overall strategy/priorities of the Government, sector or entity?
- What are the enabling factors and constraints towards being able to implement the initiative and how strong are they? Download the file "Force Field Analysis Worksheet" to support your work.
Then review the complete list according to the following parameters:
- Does the overall list include a good balance of "quick wins", medium and long-term initiatives? "Quick wins" are initiatives that require a small investment, can be implemented quickly and communicate progress which provides motivation and incentives for the ongoing change process, as well as providing leverage to elicit support and resources for the longer-term more resource intensive initiatives.
- Do the initiatives include a balance of internal/external and functional/political perspectives? (see next section, complementary options for interventions).
- Does the change management capacity exist to implement these options?
- Is the level of ambition of the overall plan realistic in terms of the resources (including budget) available?
Complementary Options for Interventions
|Predominantly functional- rational perspective||Predominantly political perspective|
|Internal elements, supply side||
Focus on getting the job done
Examples: Change structures, procedures, processes, technology and skills
Focus on getting power, loyalties and incentives right
Examples: Ensure promotions, firing, support to groups of reformers, sanctions against "rent-seeking", performance-based benefits
|Context or external stakeholders and factors, demand side||
Focus on getting an enabling regulatory and supervisory environment
Examples: Modify resource envelope, legal mandate, supervisory agencies, external audits, formal governance
Focus on increasing external pressure for performance
Examples: User pressure for accountability: strengthen advocacy and lobby groups, train politicians, journalists and media; build network for change; provide knowledge products
Tools which facilitate the formulation of solution options comprise the following:
See the file collection for all resources in this toolkit.
- European Commission: Actor Assessment Matrix (Tool 5b, Toolkit for Capacity Development)
- European Commission: Self-Assessment of Change Capacity (Tool 6a, Toolkit for Capacity Development)
- European Commission: Sequencing and Scoping of CD and Reform Tool (Tool 7a, Toolkit of Capacity Development)
- Force Field Analysis Worksheet
- Examples of Options to Address Procurement Challenges