Cube Group recently partnered with The Contenders to deliver a bold and ambitious five-year strategic plan for the Australian Computer Society (ACS). As the professional association for Australia’s technology professionals, ACS wanted to better define its focus in a fast-moving technology landscape. Cube led innovative engagement sessions with ACS’ elected members, governance bodies, external stakeholders, leaders, and employees to develop a plan that would position ACS to unlock Australia’s technology potential.
Together for good – the client challenge
The Australian Computer Society (ACS) represents a rapidly evolving professional cohort and has a crucial aim to grow the nation’s technology skills and capacity. In doing this, the society identified challenges in attracting and retaining the right technology talent in Australia to contribute to our economy. In addition, ACS has faced significant internal changes, with new leadership, governance reforms and a key revenue base significantly impacted by COVID-19.
Through deep engagement with stakeholders, leaders, and elected members, ACS wanted to develop a five-year strategic plan that would define its vision, role, goals and approach to implementation while fostering buy-in to the new direction.
There were also several concurrent strategic projects that needed to be considered alongside the new five-year strategic plan, including a new branding strategy, led by a leading Australian brand agency, The Contenders.
Bringing the right thinking and people to the table
ACS sought assistance from a for-purpose consultancy with strong skills in stakeholder engagement to support the society to understand different perspectives and consider the rapid changes impacting on the professionals they represented.
Critically the organisation wanted to adopt an engagement-led approach to rebuild trust after a challenging few years for the organisation.
Cube undertook an extensive internal and external research and stakeholder engagement process to reflect the ACS’s prioritisation of member and professional growth, and government, employer, and educator relationships. Throughout the project, Cube worked with an internally seconded team at ACS to conduct research into the governance structure, product and service mix, stakeholder landscape, external environment opportunities and threats and member experience.
Cube also engaged the elected member representatives and employees with specifically tailored workshops and surveys to develop a deep understanding of their vision and priorities for ACS. Through this process, Cube ensured key stakeholders were engaged at critical junctures in the development, so they were involved in the complete journey.
Cube received outstanding feedback on our workshops throughout the project, an example quote is below.
“I think this is probably the most balanced and productive strategy session I have ever attended in any organisation. If this is any indication of the future of ACS, I think we’re in great hands. Nice work!”
Cube also interviewed external stakeholders with significant importance and influence with technology professionals. These interviews were designed to understand the organisation’s external reputation and what current and emerging technology professions are likely to need from a representative body in the next five years.
The positive change we delivered
Cube produced a five-year strategic plan which shares ACS’ new vision, public value outcomes, and strategic pillars with accompanying priorities to help guide decision making. This document is a reference point for what will be different in the new ACS, what they will focus on and why, and identifying which stakeholders those actions seek to benefit in the next five years.
To help bring the strategy to action, Cube also developed an implementation plan and an advocacy strategy to complement the 5-year strategic plan.
The implementation plan provided:
A summary of tangible strategic actions that ACS needs to take
How they align with the strategy
Owners of those actions
Suggested timeframes for completion.
The advocacy strategy was a specifically tailored framework that addressed key partnerships and initiatives that will strengthen ACS’s influence with its target audiences to positively impact policy change and revenue streams. This document will assist ACS in cutting through and winning support from these audiences through tactical actions.