RADIANCE BLOG

Category: Strategy & Tactics

When the virus shares your name: An update on COVID-19 from the Corona Insights team

You’ve probably had your share of emails about COVID-19, its impacts, and what organizations are doing to cope (and to help you cope, too). As many are right now, we’re taking this seriously and doing our part to stop the spread of COVID-19.

While Corona Insights is not typically a consumer-facing company, our work does bring us into contact with our community, from conducting in-person research, to community activities with our clients, and of course our clients themselves. It’s a rapidly evolving situation, but here is where we stand as of today.

Direct Impacts to Date

  • Research participation. Recruiting for in-person research (e.g., focus groups largely) has largely been postponed with few exceptions. Beyond just the challenges, we feel this is the right thing to do at this time as we want participants, clients, and staff to be safe and comfortable in their participation. We have not yet seen impacts via other research modes. We’ll continue to monitor the situation and current recommendations with our partners to assess additional needed changes.
  • Research impacts. Beyond just participation, we’re recommending assessing the impact, if any, on the project itself, such as the impact the current situation will likely have on some research topics.
  • Project timelines. Whether it’s due to a reason above, or clients themselves being swamped, we are helping mitigate potential delays as best we can. We’ve always been flexible for our clients’ needs and that’s true now more than ever.

What Corona is Doing

  • Proactively managing projects. Corona is advising clients about the impact COVID-19 is having, or will likely have, on our work together, as well as how we recommend addressing it.
  • Altering research modes. Corona’s has a breadth of research tools and we are working with our clients to determine if and when it is appropriate to either change how we’re collecting data (e.g., moving more research online) or delaying research if we think the current impacts can’t be mitigated enough.
  • Recognizing the increased possibility of response bias. With an unprecedented level of societal changes happening to tackle COVID-19, we want to do what we can to avoid collecting data in a non-normal state right now. For instance, we recommended delaying one project that has to do with transportation, including public transit. Due to transit being used less right now, we will wait until behaviors return to normal before continuing with the study. We’re happy to talk through this with any clients who might have questions.
  • Working from home. Remote offices are nothing new for Corona except now it’s mandated. Staff will only be in the office as needed for critical functions, and we will determine the need for in-person meetings on a per client basis (most, perhaps all, have already moved to virtual or been rescheduled).
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Displacement, Disruption, and Distortion: Three Forces Threatening Your Mission Delivery in 2020

The marketplace is more crowded than ever with issues, causes, and candidates vying for attention as the election cycle kicks into high gear. It’s never been more challenging to be heard among so many competing messages targeted at your customer. That’s why Differentiation Zone is the tool of our time—the customer era. Differentiation Zone leads you to discover your customer’s mindset and helps you accelerate strategic success.

What trends are affecting your mission delivery? I’d love to hear from you. In the meantime, let’s bring these broad issues into view and explore what they mean for us today and the coming months. Welcome to Viewfinder 2020. Together we’ll explore the mega shifts impacting our lives across work, play, and home.

Read the full article published here.


Look beyond the financial transaction

Photo by Ian Schneider on Unsplash

Younger association members know what they want, and they have specific preferences for membership associations. Millennials are generally a tech-savvy and frugal group who value work/life balance, personal fulfillment, and connection. They want a clear sense of the benefits of being a member, something they generally don’t feel they are getting now. Mission impact and community service are significant deciding factors for Millennials and Gen Z. Career-focused messaging, personalization, and á la carte pricing are the most effective ways to connect with young members. Gen X and Boomer members expect the same. 

Connection and fulfillment are universal desires for members today, from memberships in trade associations to cultural institutions.  According to trend tracker Colleen Dilenschneider, “Supporting the organization’s mission matters a lot – mission-motivated members are more likely to buy higher-level memberships, renew their memberships, and find greater value for cost in those higher memberships that they are purchasing. A problem, however, is that not all cultural organizations recognize the importance of highlighting these benefits and instead focus almost exclusively on transaction-based benefits.”

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What to join? Co-working space, meetup or traditional association?

Associations used to be the place to go for ongoing professional development and engaging conversations with colleagues in your field. That is no longer the case as members use free, open-source alternatives such as webinars, online courses, and LinkedIn video content. Co-working spaces and meetups are ever-present substitutes for busy people seeking connections on terms. Associations can distinguish themselves by focusing on the credibility and brand of their offerings and highlighting their high-touch, in-person interactions.

Your members have more options than ever. Engage in ways that are meaningful to them.

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Welcome to the future. Today’s 4-year-old will be the parent of 2040.

Photo by Giu Vicente on Unsplash

Karla Raines of Corona will be joined by her friend Gretchen Kerr, COO of the  Children’s Museum of Denver at Marsico Campus to chat about the power of a 20-year visioning horizon. The Museum’s new 2030 Master Plan used a long horizon to leap over the usual constraints of shorter-term thinking. Moon colonization? Autonomous vehicles? Yes and yes.

Using a case study approach, we will share the advantages of a longer horizon, discuss the essential topics to explore, and share how your scan can illuminate possibilities you hadn’t envisioned as you build buy-in for an exciting future.

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What’s your Story?

We all love a good story. There is increasing evidence that storytelling is one of the most effective ways to communicate information that will be retained by an audience. An analysis of the 500 most popular TED talks demonstrated that more than 65% of the content was storytelling. The ability to communicate a clear and emotionally resonant narrative of impact is essential for nonprofits and purpose driven organizations.

Photo by Nong Vang on Unsplash

Three of Corona’s associates will take you past the buzzword of storytelling and breakdown what makes for an effective impact narrative. You will learn how tools of strategy, qualitative research, and quantitative analysis can help your organization share the story of why you matter.

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Swat that SWOT. She said what?

Photo by Astrid Greif on Unsplash

SWOT analysis, one of the most prevalent tools in strategic planning, is in dire need of an update. Can you name another tool that hasn’t evolved in 50 years? To put it in perspective, it is akin to using a rotary dial phone in the age of the tech-enabled smart phone.

Karla Raines, Corona’s strategy guru, will share four notable shortcomings in the existing approach and highlight innovative alternatives that will position nonprofits to make the most of their next strategic analysis. Once you understand the shortcomings you will be primed to consider alternatives, including how to optimize your next SWOT.

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Taking a Leap Together: Knowledge Leads to Bold Action and Dramatic Results

We sat down recently with Mike Yankovich, Gretchen Kerr, and Amy Burt of the Children’s Museum of Denver at Marsico Campus to reflect on our work together.  We asked them to take us back to the beginning.  

Twelve years ago, our hero’s journey began, as many do, with a quest for knowledge. Feeling a bit like the cartoon character “Underdog,” the Museum knew they had potential to make a more notable impact on the community yet weren’t quite sure how to get there. The facility was a bit too crowded—a theme that would emerge again in later years. Their search for answers led them to Corona Insights, as the Museum endeavored to gather customer insights to determine how to make the most of the available space, enhance quality, and solidify their reputation.

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Strategic leaders create meaning to make a difference

Every strategic leader is tasked with creating meaning for their teams. They answer questions like, “Where are we going? How will we get there? Why is our work important? What matters most to our customers?” The role of “meaning maker” is especially relevant given the frenetic pace of the change. When you lose sight of where your organization is going over the next 3 months and 3 years, the hyperactivity of today is that much more distracting. Before you know it, your organization has shifted course by default rather than intention.

As we learn to “say no to say yes” we give ourselves permission to focus on how we truly make a difference for others. No matter how large our organization, ultimately there is another human deciding to engage with us. Its important not to forget the human-to-human connection.

For more insights on strategic leadership listen to my interview on the Groler Podcast.


It Could Have Gone Off the Rails

Colorado Cancer Research Program’s  operating environment is both complex and demanding.  So too are its internal operations. Add to that a group of MDs, PhDs, JDs, researchers, and other smart folks and you have the potential to spend the better part of your retreat down the rabbit hole as you endeavor to address individual needs for clarity, and a desire to understand a few details to the Nth degree.

We sat down recently with board member Ken Dawson to reflect on their most recent board retreat. Ken is retired from the insurance industry. A few years ago, he joined the community engagement committee of CCRP and then was recruited onto the board of directors. This is Ken’s first time serving on a nonprofit board. We initially worked together in February 2018, when I facilitated CCRP’s annual board retreat.

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