A Business Plan Concept: 5 Proposed Themes and 15 potential ‘big ideas’ (PART 3)

Section 1 – Strategy

Improving Strategizing and Planning

The opportunity:

For CGIAR to adopt a forward-leaning strategizing and planning process to the 2030 SDG ‘milestone moment’ – facilitating constant innovation and proactive change management to head off problems before they require “big-bang” reforms. The accelerating pace of change in CGIAR’s operating environment demands this.

The ideas:

  • 1.1 Defining a planning landscape to 2030
  • 1.2 Optimizing the current Portfolio
  • 1.3 Planning for financial viability

More detail:

  • Slides 9 – 12
  • Slide 13
  • Slide 14 – 15

1.1. Defining a planning landscape to 2030 – 4 layers

The opportunity

A key date is 2030 – the reconciliation moment in terms of progress against the global SDGs. It is also the moment that our Strategy and Results Framework (“SRF”) ends. As an anchor date to our forward thinking it therefore seems like a good target date for our planning processes.

The ideas

First, the SRF as a broad expression of our overall research strategy and goals – running to 2030.

Second, a CGIAR2030 Plan” that sets out a new round of programming for the 2022-2030 period, framed in terms of CGIAR’s planned contribution to meeting the SDGs. The Plan would cover three business cycles. This would cover much of the strategic content of current CRP/Platform submissions, filling a critical gap in terms of providing clear institutional strategies on key areas and a vision around CGIAR’s niche and theories of change – but would stop short of detailed activity and budgeting plans – these would be covered and renewed periodically in successive 3-year business plans. Key questions for the 2030 Plan could include: whether/how to re-frame CGIAR’s objectives and reporting in terms of SDGs? what could be the longer-term institutional objectives to 2030? What should be the major ‘programming themes’ in the plan – and how closely could these relate to the SDGs? How could the CGIAR research program modality be further improved? E.g. Comprehensive or not? Larger or smaller? Frameworks or programs? Role of W1/2 as now or more narrowly focused? How to improve the process? Built in flexibility to respond to changing circumstances or fixed over business plan period?

Third, 3-year CGIAR System Business Plans. These would align all key elements into a well-managed cycle (see slide below). Three year program implementation plans in support of the 2030 research themes would be presented from Business Plan 2, which taken collectively are the backbone of the 3-year business plan. Key advantages of a 3-year cycle include: it fits best with CGIAR’s funder’s typical multi-year approval cycles – only a few extend beyond 3 years, with those longer funding cycles still welcomed and not requiring shortening; it enables a more nimble Portfolio – 3 yearly adjustments but based on longer-run program themes in the 2030 Plan to ensure more stability; 3 years is short enough to allow for deeper reprogramming and reallocations if required every 3 years, simultaneously providing for more within-period stability and space for researchers to focus on implementation; a 3-year cycle is typical for multilateral organizations (e.g. IFAD, IDA).

Fourth, an annual cycle that has as its focus an SMB submission to November System Council meetings recommending any changes to budgets and/or CRP annual programming plans.

Center-level planning cycles are foundational. Centers have the opportunity to explore any scope of alignment with the 3-year business plans and/or the 2030 Plan.

1.1. Aligning with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

The opportunity: To align System goals and reporting to the SDGs, and improve the quality of measurement of CGIAR’s contribution to the SDG targets.

The ideas:

  • In a ‘2030 Plan’, CGIAR could reformulate goals and highlevel theories of change to align with SDG targets
  • Improve measurement of the CGIAR contribution to SDGs, building on ongoing analysis commissioned by ISPC
  • Use of SDG metrics in CGIAR impact assessments