World Economic Forum – Vatican Meeting: Millennials Presenting to the Pope their Views on Social & Economic Exclusion

November 20, 2014 Leave a comment

WEF Vatican

The World Economic Forum in Geneva, in collaboration with the Holy See (Pontifical Council for the Laity) and the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross, convened young leaders in Rome to explore ways of overcoming social and economic exclusion. The meeting was organized  to respond to the challenge Pope Francis posed: How do we create a new global mindset to overcome social and economic exclusion?. Thus the meeting was titled “Towards a New Global Mindset: Overcoming Social and Economic Exclusion.”

The meeting took place on November 18-19 and brought together around 80 leaders from the Forum’s Global Shapers, Young Global Leaders and Social Entrepreneurs communities, as well as representatives from the Holy See, senior business leaders and experts on inequality and social inclusion.
Participants had the opportunity to discuss the drivers of inequality and exclusion, contribute their experience and ideas in an interactive environment, explore innovations from the private and public sectors and civil society, all with the goal of finding new ways to foster more inclusive economies that are based on the principles of love and respect for all people.

Accordingly, a working paper was prepared and presented to Pope Francis on November 18th, after having an audience with the Pope in the Vatican. This was followed by an insider tour within the Vatican’s buildings and gardens and ended with a farewell lunch inside the Vatican at the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, whose work was presented by Bishop Marcelo Sanchez Sorondo, Chancellor of the Academy.

I was honored to be selected as one of the 40 Global Shapers attending this meeting from among 4,500+ Global Shapers around the world to participate in this event. As the Curator of the Global Shapers Beirut Hub, I was representing Lebanon in this meeting and presenting the perspective of both Youth and Civil Society.

Findings of the meeting and follow-up actions will be communicated in the coming months as they go through the necessary process inside the Vatican and the World Economic Forum.

Below are some photos from the 2 days.

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Business Analysis Certification: IIBA’s CBAP Vs PMI’s PBA

October 26, 2014 1 comment

Business Analysis Certification: IIBA's CBAP Vs PMI's PBA

I’ve been CBAP certified for more than a year and a half now and I’ve recently earned my PBA certification as a participant in the pilot phase that PMI launched earlier this year. Thus I’m one of the first batch of certified PBA (less than 170 worldwide) and currently the only one in Lebanon with any of the 2 certifications.

In this context, I’d like to share with you some insights about the 2 certifications with a comparison to help you choose the right certification for you.

To start with, the International Institute of Business Analysis (IIBA) has been around for more than 10 years and it works on the development, expansion and promotion of business analysis. While the Project Management Institute (PMI) has been around for more than 45 years and it works on the development, expansion and promotion of  project management.

In this context, the 2 organizations are starting from a different perspective about Business Analysis, what it means, what it entails and the reason they developed their certification (IIBA’s CCBA and CBAP Vs PMI’s PBA).

For IIBA, business analysis is a full time job and has a more holistic vision about the role of a business analyst. For IIBA, the Business Analyst’s work is not limited to only projects, requirements management, communication and evaluation of the end result, but rather it takes more of an enterprise perspective and can even assist at the strategic level.

While PMI’s focus on business analysis is more of a hybrid role for the Project and Program Managers with a special focus on proper requirements elicitation/collection, analysis, scope design, mapping, tracking and communication of those requirements with the appropriate stakeholders. In this context, PMI’s perspective on Business Analysis is more of a Project and Program based work rather than Operational or Enterprise related work. This does make sense as PMI is concerned mostly with the success of project and programs rather than in starting a new profession by itself.

Therefore, both certification will not be contradicting but rather can complement each other in some places while they have completely different audience in other cases.

Below is a set of comparative bullet points.

CBAP:

  • IIBA has been developing the Business Analysis Body of Knowledge over several years and are now in the 2nd edition of the BABOK with the 3rd due on April 2015.
  • CBAP training and certification will cover numerous details, tools and techniques for those aiming for a career in business/solution/enterprise analysis.
  • CBAP already has its name and is well respected among Business Analysis professionals.
  • CBAP fits in excellently for people working in Consultancy, IT, Telecom, Hard and Software Development.
  • For full time BA’s, CBAP provides a more comprehensive set of knowledge than it’s PMI’s counterpart.

PBA:

  • PMI has recently acquired 2 companies that have a wealth of knowledge about requirements management, project and product design, assessments  and the like.
  • PMI has a very big marketing department with massive outreach, global partners, training providers and a global network of chapters.
  • PBA is more focused on Business Analysis work within Project and Program Management, with a special focus on requirements management, scope management and communication.
  • Professionals certified by PMI (ACP, CAPM, PMP, PgMP, PfMP) will find it more natural and smooth to earn the PBA as it is aligned with PMI’s framework. For hybrid PM-BA work, it’s sufficient as the PM will not necessarily need all the info presented by IIBA.

I hope that helps and if you have any questions or suggestions, don’t hesitate to let me know.

NGOs 101: Strategic Planning

October 20, 2014 Leave a comment

Strategic Planning“Failing to Plan is Planning to Fail”Alan Lakein

In this context, its crucial for NGO leaders to do Strategic Planning to gear their organization, their efforts and the funding they are receiving towards the best course forward.

So the first question is: What is Strategic Planning?

Strategic planning in a nutshell is envisioning what the future of the organization should look like and drafting the course of action towards it.

Below is a list of simple Q&A that can help you better understand Strategic Planning.

When should an organization do Strategic Planning?

  • When starting up
  • When a new program or initiative is to be launched
  • When the organizational structure is to be changed
  • When there are major changes in the community, thus changing the context of the organization
  • When there are major changes in the Board or Team members
  • Annually

What are the benefits of Strategic Planning?

  • Understand Why the Organization Was Created
  • Set the Vision, Mission and Goals
  • Set Action Plan
  • Ensure Team Buy-In
  • Develop a Sense of Ownership
  • Utilize Organization’s Resources Efficiently & Effectively
  • Develop Metrics to Measure Progress
  • Resolve Key Issues  & Fill Gaps

What are the 2 types of Strategic Planning?

Goals Based

  • Start with future in mind
  • Develop the plan to achieve it
  • Extrovert  Approach

Issue Based

  • Start with current status in mind
  • Identify gaps and issues
  • Develop the plan to overcome them

What is the Strategic Planning Life Cycle?

Goal Based Strategic Planning:

  • Understand the purpose of your organization – Why was it created?
  • Assess the organization’s history – How was it created and what has it achieved so far?
  • Develop/Assess its Vision – How does the future look like?
  • Develop/Asses its Mission – How will it achieve the future?
  • Develop/Asses its Values – How will it achieve the future?
  • Develop/Assess its Goals – Narrowing down the Mission into clear elements
  • Understand the internal factors – Strengths & Weaknesses
  • Understand the external factors – Opportunities & Threats
  • Extract Lessons Learned – What to repeat and what to avoid
  • Develop/Assess the Program/Projects/Tasks/Operations to achieve its Goals – The Action Plan & Tactics

Issue Based Strategic Planning:

  • Understand the internal factors – Strengths & Weaknesses
  • Understand the external factors – Opportunities & Threats
  • Extract Lessons Learned – What to repeat and what to avoid
  • Understand the key issues facing the organization – What is wrong with the organization today?
  • Develop/Assess ways to tackle the above mentioned issues – How are we going to resolve the issues using the SWOT results and Lessons Learned?
  • Develop indicators to check if what you planned to do is being implemented and is getting you where you expect to be – Monitoring & Evaluation of Key Performance Indicators

In my upcoming articles I’ll share with you my recipe of how to assist your organization in drafting it’s Vision, Mission, Goals, Values and then how to use the SWOT Analysis, PESTLE Analysis, Enhance SWOT Analysis, how to set Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and finally how to Extract Lessons Learned.

Stay tuned for more!

NGOs 101: Field of Work of NGOs

September 26, 2014 3 comments

NGOs 101 Series

Many of those I meet think that NGOs are limited to charity work and philanthropy. Yet throughout my work with NGOs, I’ve realized that they cover almost every aspect of “industries” or “field of work” that many of the Private Sector cover, as well as those of Public Sector and UN agencies.

Here’s a quick overview of the list of “industries” or “fields of work” that NGOs cover:

  1. Advocacy & Awareness
  2. Agriculture
  3. Business & Economic Policy
  4. Child Education
  5. Youth Empowerment
  6. Citizenship
  7. Communication
  8. Conflict Resolution
  9. Peace Building
  10. ICT
  11. Culture & Society
  12. Democracy & Civic Rights
  13. Rural Development
  14. Disability & Handicap
  15. Displaced Population & Refugees
  16. Education
  17. Environment
  18. Family Care
  19. Women’s Rights
  20. Governance
  21. Health
  22. Human Rights
  23. Charity/Philanthropy
  24. Labor
  25. Law & Legal Affairs
  26. Migrant Workers
  27. Relief
  28. Reconstruction
  29. Rehabilitation
  30. Research & Studies
  31. Science
  32. Social Media
  33. Technology
  34. Transparency
  35. Training & Capacity Building

Thus, the next time you hear of someone working in NGO, I kindly ask you not to label them as “Charity Worker” as many NGOs are not limited to charity work.

NGOs 101: Categories of NGOs

August 30, 2014 1 comment

NGOs 101 Series

Considering that NGOs target various geographic scopes, they can be categories accordingly. Below is a breakdown of their categories:

Community Group: Family Associations, Village Cultural Clubs.

Local NGO (LNGO): Aie Serve, Sesobel, Greenline, Ayadina, Beeatoona, Ibtissama.

Regional NGO  (RNGO): MENA Entrepreneurs Summit, Anna Lindh Foundation(EuroMed), African Aid Network, European Youth Federation.

National NGO (NNGO): MentorArabia, Injaz, Safar Fund, USA Red Cross.

International NGO (INGO): PMI, World Vision, Red Cross, Rotary, Greenpeace, Save the Children, Oxfam.

It’s important to clarify here that the following International Organizations (IOs) are NOT considered NGOs: UNDP, ESCWA, UNESCO, ILO, OPEC, FAO, Arab League..etc.

Let me know how that sounds.

NGOs 101: What are NGOs?

August 10, 2014 Leave a comment

NGOs 101 Series

Many times I get asked: What are NGOs? The answer is usually a bit more complex than you’d expect.

But before going into my own definition, let me share with you some definitions by some renowned sources. So here they are:

  • “A non-governmental organization (NGO) is a legally constituted organization created by natural or legal persons that operates independently from any government.”- www.UN.org
  • “A non-governmental organization (NGO) is any non-profit, voluntary citizens’ group which is organized on a local, national or international level.” –  www.NGO.org
  • “A nongovernment organization is an association which is based on the common interests of its members, individuals, or institutions has no governmental status or function, and is not created by a government, nor is its agenda set or implemented by a government.” – www.SIL.org
  • “Private organizations that pursue activities to relieve suffering, promote the interests of the poor, protect the environment, provide basic social services, or undertake community development” – www.WorldBank.org

 

Now the problem is, none of the above is complete or accurate, here is why:

  • The UN definition misses out that such organizations should have a cause for the benefit of the community and that they should be not for profit. According to UN definition, most private sector companies would fall under the category of “NGOs”, which is obviously incorrect.
  • The NGO.org definition misses out that they should not be initiated, managed or has members of NGO bodies. Moreover, it limits the to “voluntary” work, while in reality there are thousands of NGOs that have paid staff.
  • The SIL.org definition also misses out on the not for profit part, thus once again being an inadequate definition.
  • The World Bank definition misses out on many factors. Their definition misses out on the fact that should not be initiated, managed or has members of NGOs, nor that they should be not for profit. Just to name a few that is.

 

In this context, after further research, discussions and meetings with stakeholders from NGOs, I’ve managed to identify the components that one can use as a checklist to check if the organization in study is an NGO or not. Here are the components or attributes if you’d like to call them so:

  • Is a legal entity founded by natural or legal persons.
  • Not initiated nor managed by any government.
  • Doesn’t accept membership of governmental bodies.
  • Works to fulfill community needs rather than profit, i.e. not for profit.
  • Can be based on voluntary work, paid staff or both.

 

Using the above, I can assure you that you’d be able to clearly identify what is an NGO and what is not. You can put them in a definition as follows:

“An NGO is a legal entity founded by natural or legal persons that is not initiated nor managed by any government nor does it accept membership of governmental bodies. An NGO works to fulfill community needs rather than profit, i.e. not profit, and it can be based on voluntary work, paid staff or both.”

Thus, the following organizations are not, and should not, be considered as NGOs or labeled as such: UNDP, ESCWA, UNESCO, ILO, OPEC, FAO, Arab League.

I hope that clarifies the issue for you and I look forward to hear your feedback on the definition.

My interview with Afif Tabsh

July 24, 2014 Leave a comment

My interview with Afif Tabsh.

Categories: Random
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