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Face Value - an open conversation about what development intelligence costs


Penned by GrowZA Director - Craig Kensley


Over the course of my career, I have worked across a number of development settings. The last 10 years have been particularly interesting as I have built out (what I believe to be) a unique professional services offering in the social investment sector with partners and now for “myself” constituted as GrowZA.


Professional services is a tough game because you trade as a team of knowledge-workers. Perceived value is the currency and is - by definition - subjective.


The construct of value though is relatively easy to map. From a client perspective GrowZA anticipates and positions for scrutiny on a minimum of 4 levels:


  1. Impact - A significant, positive change that addresses a pressing social challenge

  2. Cost Effectiveness - comparing 2 approaches to achieving the same outcome (what are you getting for your money and can you get it somewhere else - and if so at what cost?)

  3. Cost Benefit - evaluating cost and adjusting for time (e.g outsourcing vs insourcing)

  4. ROI - What benefit do you derive from the service


We cost with this in mind, knowing what and who we know and understanding that what we do has a relative value in the market.


We do not benchmark against a generic costing framing - we engage a stringent costing regimen that factors in time, return on sweat equity, urgency and complexity. We then leverage our network in support of this costing strategy in order to gainfully engage in our work.


We believe that

CREDIBILITY = COMPETENCE + CONSISTENCY

and that from this base, competitive advantage is built.


We also believe that our work is hard to replicate because of:


  1. Our development expertise and knowledge

  2. The quality of our network

  3. Our integrity

  4. The quality of our delivery

  5. The ease of doing business with us


All of this rolls up into what could be described as competitive advantage and strategic market position.


We guard this jealously.


I write this in response to colleagues enquiring as to our costing strategies, sustainability metrics, and our operational planning considerations. These are open secrets which i am happy to share in a consulting environment. Mail grow@growza.co.za if you're curious.

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