Congreso is on a Mission 2 Impact! 

Through M2I, Congreso will implement our theory of change, build on our strengths, and work relentlessly to maximize our impact.


M2I Happening - Ryan Jahn Talks Design Lab!

Design Labs are underway with the support of consultant Ryan Jahn. Below, hear from Ryan first-hand on his insights and observations on how design work is going so far at Congreso!

Human-Centered Design for Program Strategy

It's no secret how problematic the translation of 'funder wishes' into 'client needs' can be. With Human-Centered Design (HCD), we involve our clients in the development process. We can design the service to not only meet the immediate need, but also match a person's internal mental model, expectations, personal values, and belief system. Practically speaking, our hope is that Congreso's program teams will use the Design Toolkit to develop their own frameworks for problem solving, design the most effective touch-points and sequence of activities in a program, and be precise about which components to include or exclude in their program design. The insights generated from listening to our client's voice have the potential to provide a powerful feedback loop to everyone in the public service system, including: practitioners, leadership teams, funders, and policymakers.

Pilot Programs Using Design

The program teams in this round of design labs are breaking new ground. They are pioneers of exploring how creativity will become the catalyst for change at Congreso. They are focused and engaged. Most notably, the grace that each team has demonstrated working with each other during this new and sometimes ambiguous process has been a driving force. Beautiful insights and ideas are coming; both in the way we think about each program's strategy as well as how to bring tactical service delivery improvements to life. This leap, from new insights to continuous improvement is a big challenge for any organization. While this may seem hard to do in the current institutional structures, we are living in a time where system thinking, scientific rigor, and the tools and knowledge for program experimentation are accessible to all practitioners; community designed trial programs should be done and this round of design labs are getting us one step closer to that reality. 

About Ryan

Ryan Jahn, a Designer and Ethnographic Researcher, has been working closely with Congreso staff for the past two years to conduct Human-Centered Design (HCD) analysis across existing programs; create client journey maps to learn more about how clients access, move through, and successfully exit or drop out of Congreso programs; and improve programs utilizing the HCD methods to ensure services are human-centered and connected across departments and divisions. Prior to working with Congreso, Ryan has worked with some of the worlds top design firms and has successfully designed enterprise technology products as well as start-up ventures in many sectors. Boasting millions of customers, chances are you've used something he has designed. 

For more information on Human-Centered Design and various case studies, see below to checkout the non-profit division of IDEO, a global design firm. 


Committee Update: 

The "Back of House" (BOH) Committee was formed in Fall 2018 with the goal of prepping the priority list for BOH strategies, looking for high bang-for-the-buck options that will have quick impact on the entire organization. The list of priority projects to address was compiled based on the review of several documents and strategies that have been conducted with leadership and program staff, including the Here to There Assessments, Access Agency/Meeting Grid, Employee Surveys (Top Workplace) and the PIOSA (Performance Imperative Organizational Self-Assessment).  The committee looked for low budget, high-impact across frontline staff and supervisors, things that can be solved and completed, and the administrative division will continue to work on projects throughout the spring and summer to address the feedback that has been provided with the assessments.  The BOH projects are an ongoing focus for M2I, and will go hand in hand with the "front of the house" program strategy, which is currently being conducted via the Design Labs.  The BOH projects will ensure that the administrative support and infrastructure of the agency grows and is ready to support the new programs and enhancements of the agency with M2I.

An example of a small project that has been implemented based on the Here to There assessment is HR has started sending Welcome emails to all staff when new employees are onboarded.  This is a great, quick and easy way to acquaint staff with new employees, and highlight the talent that is coming to Congreso! 


Terms & Definitions:

PIOSA: Performance Imperative Organizational Self-Assessment. Assesses 7 key pillars of a high-performing non-profit organization in high detail, including Board and Executive Leadership, Management Systems and Culture, Program Design and Implementation, Fiscal Sustainability, Learning Culture, Monitoring and Quality Assurance, and External Program Evaluation.  This assessment was created by the Leap of Reason Ambassadors, a community of nationwide non-profit leaders who are dedicated to enhancing the performance and stability of the non-profit industry. Executive Cabinet team took the assessment and the results will generate action items in each Pillar area that will become a significant portion of the M2I Back-of-The-House strategy to ensure we have a strong agency infrastructure to support our programs.

Access and Meeting Grid: A comprehensive grid listing all of the staff levels from CEO down to Part timer, crossed with all of the things staff can access or approve throughout the agency, including which standing meetings folks are expected to attend. Paints a current state grid of how deep within the organization people can make decisions and access the information and tools they need in order to best do their work. Informs potential areas for increased access and autonomy throughout the organization to help give our teams more autonomy and tools to lead their projects. These items have been analyzed and consolidated into the M2I Back of House strategy.

Here to There Assessment: Agency-wide workshops and assessment done in each of the 4 divisions in Fall 2017, using the Here to There leadership model from the Global Leadership Summit. Uses staff-generated "affinity-diagramming responses" using staff-created sticky note responses  to paint a picture of current state dynamics across several categories of Congreso's operations, including Fiscal, Grants, PCM, Data, Impact, Innovation, IT and Facilities, etc. Provided significant staff level input into the Back-of-House projects strategy – many of which have already been completed or are currently underway. This assessment document was recently updated to reflect any items still pending, and those pending items will be rolled forward and included in the M2I strategy along with the PIOSA action items as part of the Back of The House M2I strategy.


Stay Tuned!

Please attend the PCM Resource Seminar on Wednesday, March 27th in the MP Rooms to learn more about design labs and hear from program teams currently going through this learning process!


Questions? Ideas? Feedback? Want more information? Please reach out to Julia Rivera at

Congreso de Latinos Unidos
216 W. Somerset St.,  | Philadelphia, Pennsylvania  19133
215-763-8870 |

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