South Africa, the largest country in SACU, is the most unequal country in the world, ranking first among 164 countries in the World Bank's global poverty database.
This is a BIG problem and can often lead to an overwhelmed and uncoordinated response as business, government and civil society alike scramble to respond.
We feel Queen said it best in their song "Too much love will kill you" :
"Too much love will kill you
If you can't make up your mind
Torn between the lover and the love you leave behind
You're headed for disaster 'cause you never read the signs
Too much love will kill you every time"
Its a classic, have a listen!
GrowZA, through it's iterations in the market, has been exposed to a number of response modalities and has rested on a simple credo - connecting development opportunities to resources in order to accelerate social progress.
An extract from our manifesto reads:
"GrowZA is a collective of positive voices speaking to the growth potential of (South) Africa and its people.
We are cause agnostic.
While we acknowledge the many worthy sentiments across the development landscape the mission we have chosen is simply to connect development opportunities to resources in order to accelerate social progress.
Our values are pragmatism, integrity, innovation and partnership.
This is how we #GrowZA"
Many development agents (sincerely) charge down this road - ignoring product-market fit jumping straight into promoting their development solution as being THE solution for THE problem for every community - a development panacea if you will.
This results in channels where even when there is initial success, the leadership and growth teams seem to lose control. Channel teams begin to over-promise and under-deliver, deadlines aren't met and the burn-rate of funding / reserves pressure builds. Funders become frustrated and communities become angry.
The result for these programmes, as it usually is for almost every programme that has ignored product-market fit before, is a series of several initial successes across several communities. All of these initial success are very promising until those initial solutions needed to scale within those different communities as needs shift.
Suddenly a wide variety of very dissimilar needs evolve into much bigger and broader social solutions to deliver and maintain.
Teams begin to strain under the volume of, what are now, unique business demands, and leadership teams often lack the management experience to streamline the NGO / agency's business models and market offering. These factors keep multiplying until they eventually "kill" the well-meaning organisation.
So, what do we do in the face of more problems than we know how to solve?
Focus. Stop trying to solve every problem at once.
Vision. Your solution may have a global impact story, but it takes time and milestones to get there.
Mission. Focus on the next milestone and put everything else on the back burner or in the dust bin.
Market. If you've missed the product-market fit, make some quick decisions about which funders, supporters and pools of funds you are targeting and restrict your efforts to that market.
Labour. If you're burning reserves, you need to make hard decisions about re-purposing or reducing your talent. Better to make those decisions now before your burn rate makes them for you.
Programme scope. Once you get through all that, start reviewing the functionality and put on ice every feature that doesn't provide direct value to your target community.
Impact Cases. Don't do everything halfway, do a few things well. Cut your impact cases in half and fill those properly and on time. Then add impact cases back in as you reduce your delay and error rates.
This narrowing strategy will reset organisational confidence, sharpen focus, and steel team determination.
We have worked with, and in teams, where both sides of this coin has played out - narrowing is always the most practical option when faced with the pain growth (or the potential of growth) can bring.
As a mission focused Social Investment Agency, GrowZA works with clients to reduce noise in social investment channels tracking a clear interaction between resources and impact in real terms.
This is how we #GrowZA