In September 2016, we took a class of Operational Excellence trainees to an NGO aiming to boost their learning experience, while supporting a local organization. Participants were split into three teams and assigned to a business unit aiming to identify operational pains points and propose solutions to the NGO management. With the trainers having scheduled in advance a set of activities, participants applied the tools and techniques learnt in class in a real-life setting and among others conducted interviews, observed operational activities, performed root cause analysis, and brainstormed on potencial solutions.
The most challenging aspects proved to be participants ability to grasp the specificity of the NGO context and adapt to unexpected events and findings. At the same time, the trainers would follow-up the activities and allow participants to try, fail, learn, and re-adapt their approach with minimun involvement from their side.
The feedback received was quite positive, with trainess appreciating the opportunuty to leave the classroom and test their analytical and soft skills. Moreover, supporting a local NGO brought an extra sense of mission and commitment to everyone involved, with several follow ups taking place to support the implementation of the key recommendations.
If interested to replicate the approach, feel free to drop me a message for more information. I would be more than happy to share how we organized the various activities and what we would do differently next time.