{ What We Do }

OPEN BLUE CONSULTING brings to all of its work a deep history in community-based investment and innovation. We believe in the positive role philanthropy and the social profit sector play in this country and aim to use our skills and knowledge to support its development. 

We respect the knowledge and wisdom of our clients and those they serve and we are committed to building on their strengths and dreams. Working with organizations such as the Walter and Duncan Gordon Foundation, The Circle on Philanthropy and Aboriginal Peoples in Canada, and Social Innovation Generation (SiG), Open Blue has been instrumental in leading its clients through processes of reflection, discovery, and the realization of plans. Our work ranges from a simple report to the establishment of key national programs that address social and environmental change.

{ Strategic Development }

Organizations of any age and stage require careful tending, particularly as it relates to their vision, mission, and strategic platform. This is ongoing work and unique to each organization based on history, organizational culture, alliances, and financial circumstances. Open Blue provides assistance with values and vision clarity, creating and renewing a mission, working to identify needs and expectations, strengthening organizations through constructive change, and governance review and support.

Case Study

Global Alliance for the Future of Food

A handful of funders have a dream: to work together to leverage action at the global, national, and local levels to support food system reform. Open Blue is helping them turn that dream into a reality. Working with the early members of the nascent Global Alliance for the Future of Food, Open Blue is leading the establishment of this strategic international donor network to: provide global leadership and influence decision- and opinion-makers; speed up the rate of change across food systems; catalyze strategic initiatives in support of food system reform; broaden civic debate about the need to rethink food systems and the ways to do so; and enhance collective and individual action of network members. By creating powerful alliances to accelerate and amplify the conditions for transformational change, the Global Alliance aspires to move the planet toward greater global agriculture and food system sustainability.

Photo Credit: Melissa K. Yu  

{ Creative Programming }

Creative programming is the means through which our work often hits the ground. Through innovative program development we create a road map to realize our broader vision and goals and facilitate the successful achievement of our desired outcomes. Open Blue helps organizations develop programs that reflect and address their vision and mission and that have the greatest potential for impact. We explore and develop program options and possibilities, assist with program design, identify key strategies, and find innovative mechanisms for implementation. 

Case Study

Restoring the Lifeblood: Water, First Nations, and Opportunities for Change

The Walter and Duncan Gordon Foundation is committed to innovation for the North and in fresh water management based on independent thought, protecting the environment, and full participation of indigenous people in the decisions that affect their well-being. Wanting to bring these priorities together, they hired Open Blue to design and deliver a two-day session aimed at facilitating a dialogue on key challenges and opportunities with respect to fresh water and First Nations communities. The event was designed to help funders, not-for-profit organizations, and individuals better understand the sacred relationship First Nations peoples hold with water, identify an initial inventory of potential opportunities and solutions, and explore the creative intersections of the Foundation’s work.

Photo Credit: Valérie Courtois

{ Research | Landscape Analysis }

Research and landscape analysis are a kind of wayfinding – a means by which we can orient ourselves and navigate from place to place. This is as important for those with a social change agenda as it is for those exploring the unbeaten track. By understanding our environmental issues, constraints, and opportunities we can create powerful and effective strategies. Open Blue assists its clients with understanding the landscape in which they are operating: we do research, undertake environmental scans, and create “navigational markers” to help our clients chart their future course.

Case Study

Crowdfunding Feasibility Study

The Curriculum Foundation, a Canadian charity that supports teachers in developing classroom-ready resources, was interested in looking at restructuring its charitable purposes and expanding its reach and scope, in particular exploring the feasibility of a web-based platform showcasing classroom-based micro-projects for crowdfunding. Open Blue undertook a Feasibility Study to explore the viability of an educational crowdfunding site to support teachers and their students nationwide, as well as to assess TCF’s internal structure and capacity to effectively execute its development and management.

{ Communications }

From the civil rights movement to acid rain to the Arab Spring, communications has been a critical ingredient in social change. And it will continue to be so. Our ability to share information, to organize, to build bridges to others, to inspire, is predicated on our ability to communicate effectively. Open Blue helps its clients tell their story through communications strategy development, generation of key messages, website strategy development, editorial, and writing and composition.

Case Study

Canadian Environmental Grantmakers’ Network

For the first time in the Canadian Environmental Grantmakers’ Network's 10 year history the need for more effective communications by the grantmaking and broader environmental community was flagged as a critical issue to be addressed in CEGN’s 2012 – 2014 Strategic Plan. Open Blue is working with CEGN to help the organization and its members reframe the issues, speak louder on the public stage, add its voice to others with common values and objectives, and find creative avenues to get their messages out.

{ Human Resources and Organizational Development }

We all have unique contributions to make, particularly when our skills and abilities are matched with the right opportunities, and when our organizations foster the conditions for success. Open Blue helps its clients with human resources and organizational development: we identify needs, articulate opportunities, recruit staff, support human resource policy development, and assist organizations in creating optimal conditions for effectiveness. As well, a significant component of many of Open Blue's contracts is mentoring, executive coaching, and job search coaching.

Case Study

SiG National Program Manager

Social Innovation Generation (SiG) believes that serious social problems can be solved. Their focus is on fostering social innovation to achieve impact, durability, and scale by engaging the creativity and resources of all sectors. But to do so effectively, they needed the right people in place. Open Blue helped SiG define HR needs, articulate roles, and manage the hiring of a new program manager to join the team and contribute to SiG’s goals to support whole systems change through changing the broader economic, cultural, and policy context in Canada. Post-hire, Open Blue helped support the new Manager, Social Innovation in their role through coaching and mentorship.

Photo Credit: Rebekah Richardson-Duffy