Photograph credit: Oxfam
Oxfam, one of the world’s largest and most recognisable charity brands, is turning to its employees to help them define the organisation’s new strategic direction for the next ten years.

The charity has traditionally set a new strategy every five years, but in 2020 Oxfam is developing a bold, innovative and future-oriented 10-year Strategic Framework for the next 10 years (2020-2030): one that will be inclusive, empowering and accountable.

It is an opportunity for Oxfam to further its commitment to global balance and southern voice; leadership inspired by feminist principles, and to transform its organisational culture and the way it works. Given the significance of this activity and Oxfam’s commitment to what it calls ‘radical transparency’, Oxfam is doing so using the insight and ideas of its employees, partners and volunteers from 90 countries worldwide in which it operates.

To help them do this, Oxfam is partnering with tech start-up Sideways 6, industry leaders in what is often called ‘idea management’ or ‘innovation management’. Sideways 6 helps large organisations to collect, manage and act on employee ideas, insight and feedback.

Founded in 2014 by Will Read, the London-based enterprise is trusted by some of the world’s leading companies, including British Airways, Nestlé and Balfour Beatty, as well as UK charity Mencap. Unlike other companies working in this field, Sideways 6 does not require its customers’ employees to download an app or register and log in to a new platform. Instead, they can seamlessly connect to the communication platforms already used by their customers, such as Workplace by Facebook, forms or even work email, resulting in up to ten times the engagement of competitors.

Crowdsourcing employee ideas for its Global Strategy on this scale is not something Oxfam has tried before. However, now thanks to their use of Workplace – and Sideways 6’s ability to integrate with the collaboration platform – Oxfam is able to scale up the strategic conversation to its entire staff of 10,000 employees and externals in a truly representative and democratic process. Oxfam is conducting an open, honest discussion about its work with the goal of becoming a different organization, determined to learn, cooperate and improve.

Will Read, Founder and CEO of Sideways 6, said:

“We’re thrilled to be working with Oxfam and helping them to define their strategy for tackling global poverty for the next ten years.

“At Sideways 6, we believe that great ideas can come from anywhere, so it’s great to see a world-renowned organisation like Oxfam embracing the power of employee ideas to drive their progress and direction.”

Morgane Bradley, Digital Workplace Communications Lead for Oxfam, said:

“We are following a bottom-up approach using Workplace for the wider conversation and Sideways 6 for data management, as we wanted to be sure employees’ ideas don’t just go into a ‘black hole’. The aim is to bring staff, partners and volunteers together through conversation and debate, which will help us define Oxfam’s goals and role in the future.”

Julien Codorniou, Vice President of Workplace by Facebook, commented:

“Workplace is honoured to serve Oxfam through our Workplace for Good programme. We’re proud to help connect thousands of Oxfam employees, some deskless and in diverse locations, with easy-to-use, mobile technology. We are strong believers that everyone within a company should be given a voice. And in Oxfam’s case, we’re helping them to collaborate towards a common goal – defining their strategy for ending poverty globally.”