Akvo Strategic Workshop 19-20August 2011
Location: @Villa Kakelbont - Stockholm, Sweden
(note that these notes by Frodo aren’t set in stone - this doc is the first time many of the presenters have seen them, so they may tweak the observations to reflect what they actually meant - Mark.)
- Have time to learn from each other
- Coming on the same page
- Make decisions for upcoming future
- Sync on to deeper level – oil on mechanics of machine
- Akvo could become very very BIG – we as a team have a responsible task!
- USA market has potential to build cross road between development aid & technology
- Learn to each other how Akvo really works
- Define different views of Akvo (strategic base with adjusted strategies for Hubs)
- Different scenarios lead to different outcomes – (5 year plan) - which decisions will we take the coming five years
- Technology is our key back-up – key driver are our people: they make the difference!
- Quality is essential: need to control / maintain our work to be able to scale
- Dilemma is around us of delivery and scaling (capacity)
Welcome (Jeroen - Akvo Board)
- Clear Vision to future is needed
- Play the games – have your facts and figures in shape
- Define the rules (objectives) and maintain integer
- We are a unique multi-stakeholder network
- Need to be open / honest and frank to each other; what did go well and what not
- Our people are our key resource / asset
Update Akvo (Thomas - Co-director)
- @World Water Day Akvo will become 5 years (idea), 4 years (framework), 3 years (formal and financial).
- In recent years Akvo has developed from an idea to an organization with over 1m Euro secured revenues per year
- At the moment we have 17 colleagues – and a lot of valuable friends…
- There is a need to define ways to measure our progress. Market intelligence is important
- Akvo is making progress in developing a sustainable business model and building relationships with strategic organisations such as USAID, DGIS, DFID, World Bank, SEDA, One Foundation.
- Akvo provides “End to End Transparency”
- Akvo is an Partnership & Tooling support organization for transparency
- Key element coming period is focus because there are so many opportunities
- We should always worry if we think we have no competition. Thought we may have a market lead, we need to be aware that new things will come up earlier than we think.
- Our Unique Selling Point is Akvo’s Business Model
Update Software Development (Thomas - Engineering)
- Akvopedia is an important entrance to our platform and should get more focus and attention. Could become a very important marketing tool.
- Our objective: increase transparency and trust
- One of our products are field project reporting tools. The potential is big when our partners will increasingly use it.
- @stage: Sms-updates, partner-sites (important!), re-publishing tools and IATI
- Akvo will be able to support donor countries (donor coordination) to keep track of their financial flows (US donor money in support country presented in one overview)
- Most open data set are not open or easy to read, the trigger to use Akvo is to make it non-complex
- Akvo market intelligence will provide unique overview
- Make aid flow transparent; who is your customer – bring down to politics – justify the impact: What’s coming in and what going out. We know how the financial flows – we do not need to touch it
- Countries need is to be transparent – there is a demand that donors need to be transparent & recipients need to explain what’s happening (push/pull strategy)
- Partner subsites will be a dealmaker
- How to collaborate and work together with competitors (US Markets is biggest Aid Donor). Akvo is not focused on end consumers and fundraising itselves but is providing tools to support transparency.
- Toolbox (Appstore) for reporting and monitoring: for instance 1. Partner site (SMS), 2. IATI, 3. Add monitoring via FLOW
- Business model: where are you most valuable (focus). There is a shift occuring in how Akvo will be used.
Update Partnership (Peter - partnering)
- Water is focus area, but more themes are already in the system. Strategy how to continue build strategy and capacity wisely.
- Dutch Wash Alliance is one of MFS partnership. Objective is to improve knowledge sharing, bring projects online and support tools. Projects are in line with focus countries of the Netherlands.
- Important is methodology and feedback to improve tools when using our (monitoring) tools
- It’s all about customization, but an average percentage for the Akvo tools is around 3.5%. This is divided into software development, communications, partnerships and training (visits).
- Akvo is in software development and create insight transparency.
- Need to measure the effectiveness of online sharing between support and local partners. We also need to focus on offline!
- In Connect4Change (IICD, ICCO, Edukans, Cordaid and Text to Change) consortium is more focus on software development. It’s an opportunity to work with new partners and sectors.
- Sometimes the fee is less (e.g. Earthwater), in which we use the partnership to experiment and test new tools.
- Business development model for marketing product e.g. One: net profit or % per product sold.
- PPP funding is there to support building partnerships: encourage learning.
- Case Rabobank: Akvo is already adopted in several departments within the bank. Focus of PPP is to endorse it more strategically.
- We would like to bring 2-3 Embassies online of which we are already working with at the beginning of next year.
- Open for change is part of movement (umbrella) of which we are strong player in.
- How much effort is in which partner. Overview (in business model) of time and network.
- Create a visual one pager including: partners, services en knowledge/financial flows.
- Description of partner processes, services etc (all on same page)
- Should we focus also on Private initiatives or not?
Update Communications (Mark)
- “Build something user’s love & make more than you spend” (Paul Graham).
- Communications is about building the love, while managing expectations
- Akvo is under the skin and supporting
- Our core narrative today is in the intro of the 2010 Annual Report: Akvo won’t fix history – Akvo will work/improve the future.
- Share great work share – the good will be out. Describe your narrative (create history, now) – be authentic.
- “How the Dutch cross the road” (top theory this! - see me later)
- Why open source marketing changes everything
- Should we be more event / announcement driven (also outside water sector)
- “We are all somebody else’s creepy guy” - some create, but the majority are natural voyeurs - enjoy this and respond to it.
- IMPACT: 300 video interview updates online @watercube (450 by the end of Stockholm World Water Week)
- Highlight pieces - being a creator: everybody is a reporter
- How to encourage / mobilise partners
Update Partner Text to Change (T2C) (Hajo)
- “T2C is a full service mobile phone added value company” – only demand driven. Social venture. Tool service provider / platform. Serious gaming and content / technical company.
- Research: added value / impact. Text message updates / reminders / queries. “text 1612 for information about soak pit”
- Phone provider deals: “we work with clients” - business approach. Free is for the short term, we are planning to stay for the long. Make sure you prove your added value and be able to show it.
- C4C: be clear in what you expect of a partnership and what it will bring.
- Akvo is a service platform. It began as a crowd-funding platform and has really become a transparency layer. Akvo is changing its approach; it’s a young organization in transition.
- Aiming too much on development aid (as a frontrunner). Change to a business party (service provider). Akvo platform also suitable for business in emerging markets (South Africa and India)
- Define your exit strategy after 5 years?!
- Akvo should embrace the fact that it’s not a typical NGO!
- T2C and Akvo should do a joint program (campaign) of which 5% will be ICT (Akvo) and 5% will be campaign (T2C). Example: Earthwater China.
- Risks are there to cope with – embrace them!
- T2C is working together with PWC on procurement policies. The relationship is on a coaching and supplier-ship level. In the beginning there is no time for procedures. Allen & Overy is supporting with legal advice.
- Akvo is a post start-up – to be able to scale – key focus is professionalism through the whole organization.
- Do you own (in support of partners) risk-assessments – have a clear overview.
- There should be a healthy balance between professionalism and innovation.
- Data mining: full capacity working on only 20% of the data (there is too much data)
- Would be nice to do a survey to check what the perception is of Akvo in relation with 1%club and Pifworld. Deal with outcome in communications and customer segments.
- USA: deliver services into USA services system. Dutch organizations should build informal partnerships. USAID is a preferred partner of T2C.
- Dutch are too modest. US presents it selves better and do claim the fame.
- M-lab should be worked out more carefully. T2C has no rush to do that on short notice. Start working in the same building is already positive big step.
Update Business Model (Peter/Frodo)
- Define who you are – mission and vision
- Explore more the financial methodology of Akvo
- Business model exercise is a reflection of the now
- In the future need to explore different separate models and present in next board meeting: Commercial venture, Akvopedia (products), Watercube (SIWI, IRC, Akvo) ….
- Where are we in 5 years, what’s our lifeline and what is our exit strategy?
- Be transparent and define percentage and the model behind it
- Secured income / costs (grants/fees) – operational revenues
- 3% fee – operational revenues
- Strenghten current relationship with other governments and define fee / grants
- How are we going to expand?
- Where is the competitive threat – high barriers to enter
- Add private initiatives
- Difference in partnerships (customer and provider)(investor, client and promoter)
- IT & Partner services: help them to change them their processes
- Raise overall communication skills in cross-sectors
- Speed: build trust and reputation by rapid delivery
- Implementation power and efficiency
- Be aware that we started/intended to serve small privates and are doing delivery to big corporates / countries
- Private initiatives: Make a deal with an intermediairy
- In a previous era customers would have asked IBM to fix these problems. We fill the blind spots because they don’t make the business case.
- US: Water.org and charity water all use small software companies
- Where is the competitive threat? Strangely it could be the likes of B&M Gates Foundation commissioning a huge tech team. Or maybe it could be Google (massive resources).
- Why are we here for: our motivation is different: we would like to bring IT for change.
- Akvo is in a transition process
- Collaboration in partner tools and facilitation of the network is key.
- USP Akvo are it’s PEOPLE and RELATIONSHIPS
- New trusted development networks
- Akvo = IBM. We have something in common: mainframe – central?????
Update Performance Dashboard (Stefan)
- What are good indicators – “where do we wanna go”
- Growth, visibility, quality, uptake of solutions, impact
- Definition: what is partnership, project, program “be consequent in using”
- Do some benchmarks to be able to do good target setting
- Campaigns: help to stimulate the GAP in projects and funding (accelerator)
- More analysis / intelligence needed: who is funding – customer funding
- What number do we bring in? Raised is a confusing term on website. Project volume is better.
- Use terms as Assets under Management
- Akvopedia is an important entrance. “Akvopedia is a good Marketing machine”
Performance Management (Thomas)
- DASHBOARD is wonderful! Define 5 criteria.
- Updates are low. Contract about usage? Incentives?
- More frequent update to our Board members – should think about a format.
- Define actionable targets (for Akvo Board / Development / Comms / Partnerships / Akvopedia / Countries)
- How do we create value?
- Next steps: 1. What to measure on the longer term, 2. Breaking data into country / region/ sessions
Sanitation Decision Support Tool (Mark)
- Arghym has developed a toilet calculator – cost indicator (financing methods)
- Develop Akvopedia Product Widgets – example dry toilets widget on WASTE website
- How are we going to expand?
- AkvoAcademy / AkvoCourses. India Sanitation Water with government: Social Governmental aspects of Sanitation. Partner with IRC and UNESCO-IHE to improve Akvopedia and add case studies of students and photos.
- Make a link to project examples
- Behavioral community change communication – commercial marketing
- Customer segment: link to other drivers / partners
- Example of sanitation (dry) in the west
- Add a disclaimer
Looking back DAY ONE
- We are not a start-up anymore
- Transparent liquid Akvo – universal languages
- Bigger players – financial/big players
- Knowledge sharing balance
- Shared possibilities
- Canvas exercise for different value propositions
- Selling transparency
- Underlying assumption – shared USA
- Blog about Dashboard
- Communications update – we are all communications ambassadors
- Partner – photo – update slides: great!
- New generation of widgets – see the story behind the photo: partner sites
- #Priority: crucial break-through
- Strategy: Akvopedia – has more potential (in different sectors)
Akvo Foundation USA (Mark N.) – building an organization
- Difference in competition: you can buy something – money/media value
- Crucial is the “THEM” – make them successful is an USP
- Akvo USA Foundation is not for profit: friends status
- We are no longer a start-up
- We need a board of directors: Becky Straw, Mark Nitzberg (secretary and treasurer), and Paul Ciandrini. And looking for an additional Board member. Peter van der Linde will be President.
- Start up operations while documents are in approval process
- Internet enabling services – Y-combinator – Wave is back in Internet services. Akvo fits right in the second wave.
- We develop building blocks (Lego), open source, to continue building on.
- We could become also a social venture
- We should not focus on technical aspects of AID in USA. It’s already very crowded in the (private) fundraising arena. Water and Development Aid is a unique combination.
- Instead of trying to compete we should partner!
- It all relies on TRUST – programs with the Dutch government provide a golden combination. Other success factors: technology component for the solution of many parties, interest in Development Aid, Not for profit, .org.
- Akvo should make their life easier!
Akvo Foundation USA (Becky)
- The Adventure Project: Social enterprise - businesses to provide social services
- High impact – low tech solutions
- Harvard BR: impact – what is the impact of the gift
- US NGO’s are really scared to lose control
- Government Aid / USAID reporting requirement
- You are only funded when you provide pictures / updates
- Looking for niches and tell us why you are better
- What’s your business: here is your impact we will monitor / report the progress
- RSR – back end partnership and front end donations
- I want to know something about my soak pit
- Business providing services: We help to improve impact with selected partners
- We have something to offer to foundations and governments
- Find the best fundraising engines and build partnerships
- Pre-build and connect to open source tools: “want to do their selves”
- Akvo could be the advisor to the World Bank and USAID – consultancy opp
- What is Akvo: Supplier, Advisor, Consultant, Business
- Open Data kit
Update Nailab Kenya (Sam)
- Kenyans for Kenyans: 15000 people on Facebook and raised 500k
- Building mobile phone apps for mapping slums (map datasets)
- Make your own donation
- Gamefication – what could be a driver for update
- Incubator: incubation process and solutions company
- Angel investors – funding engine
- Social media has not found out yet
- Feedback for sustainable solutions
- Akvo App via Nailab
- Dashboard: straight forward and easy to use
- Plug-inns for different purposes
- Mobile payments
- South to South
Update Akvo India Hub (Sunita)
- Issue getting change to happen – ensure to make it happen
- Create environment / framework. How to ensure everybody is involved. How to learn and make sure data is gathered.
- Private sector coming in where government lacks. Discussion about sustainability.
- Data / numbers are not accessible and of poor quality.
- Big difference between Quantity and Quality
- Sanitation: Behavioral change – outcome oriented and incentive if you make pledge
- Water disposal: you need bigger picture thinking
- GOVERNANCE is key: poverty is political
- Budget WASH is BIG – everything is there!
- Schemes need to be customized
- Civil society is vibrant: anti-corruption movement
- How to make it work on a large scale is a challenge
- Annual budget is only known on country level to the public not per district or city.
- India Governance – good overview scheme Sunita
- Hesitant to build PPP: fear for private sector – government is not strong enough.
- India market: Relevance to users, few domestic donors, culture not Internet driven, religious giving. 1. RSR, 2. Marketplace, 3. Tools for the field
- Government is largest donor and has severe implementation problems. Tools to help governments to implement schemes are a big opportunity.
- There is no transparency. Showing the result to major donors (UNDP, Gates, Unicef) is key. Show the solution. Open source movement.
- E-Government software to streamline government services for a more efficient government.
- Data, Data, Data, Data, Data is everything!
- Open government data: ask a question.
- Develop questionnaires and start using in India and Bangladesh