Busara – Annual Planning Process Facilitation


The Busara Center for Behavioral Economics is a Nairobi-based research and advisory organization dedicated to advancing and applying behavioral science in the Global South. Busara applies an evidence-based approach with context-specific solutions to address some of the world’s most complex problems. With clients including NGOs, non-profits, governments, and commercial firms, Busara pursues a social good mission to advance and apply behavioral science in pursuit of poverty alleviation.

Business Problem

Founded in 2013, Busara has grown rapidly and currently boasts 80+ researchers and analysts supporting over 50 customers in 23 countries throughout Africa and the Global South. Busara discovered that the flip side of this success is that its planning processes and organizational discipline had not always been able to keep pace. As Busara approached its planning cycle for the 2018 calendar year, it wanted to bring an additional level of rigor lacking in previous planning processes. Having worked with Callan Consulting for the better part of the past year to instill best practices from the consulting world, Busara asked Ed to facilitate its 2018 business planning process.


Prior to the planning offsite, Callan Consulting engaged in preparations including interviewing senior Busara staff, performing market and competitive analysis, and defining the session agenda and activities. Busara executives were given homework assignments consisting of identifying goals and priorities, articulating Busara core competencies, characterizing the competitive landscape, and interviewing several Busara clients. Ed then facilitated a three-day strategy development offsite session, which covered specific strategy development and planning sessions, along with team building and other exercises. Each day started with a checkpoint/day plan, included breaks and group activities, and ended with a recap. Sessions covered executive team input from their homework, core competencies/competitive differentiation, target market segments and offerings, division/department goals and OKRs, staffing plan implications, and major milestones and sequencing.


The agenda proved to be highly ambitious but the team was focused and directed, and was able to make it through the entire process. The team identified several “unexpected” issues and came up with resolutions to them, making critical decisions about team dynamics and organizational structure based on best practices Callan Consulting introduced during the session. Several executives remarked offline how impressed they were by the process and the amount they were able to cover as a team, and Busara was so pleased with the planning support that it brought Callan Consulting back the next year and facilitate its three-year planning process for 2019-2021.