Department for International Development: UK Government Department

The Department for International Development (DFID) used Achordus to hold an All Staff Conversation between 30th November -11th December, 2009 to generate innovative ideas to drive significant policy change affecting how the organisation works.

The DFID management board were keen ensure wide participation. Achordus attracted input from every grade from C2 up the Permanent Secretary and from every DFID location across the globe. Group feedback revealed that staff saw the conversation as an “inclusive exercise”.

Policy leads particularly valued gaining “new ideas from unexpected sources – people who are not already part of formal policy networks”. The Achordus voting exercises illustrated a “mindset shift” had occurred on a key policy area.

DFID reports that the process supported the translation of top innovative ideas from staff into a set of 24 priority actions. On issues that may have been unpopular, such as reducing travel costs, “bottom up momentum for change was generated”.

The conversation was seen by staff as a “role model of constructive challenge”, and precipitated debate on the nature of challenge within the organisation. DFID reports “it was important to see other people challenging – and that that was accepted and also even championed by senior managers on that area.”

They said...

"This was a great opportunity to contribute to the debate on how best to deliver DFID's objectives. It was pleasing to see such broad participation, from junior staff through to the Permanent Secretary, and it really helped generate a widespread sense of involvement in DFID's decision making processes."

- Participant, DFID