Creating windows of opportunity

Image descriptionResearch should be insightful. It should tell you something you don’t know. Not repeat what anyone who knows your area of business would likely already understand.

Catalyst Research, sister organisation to aCatalyst Consulting, was created to focus in on discovering windows of opportunity -- key leverage point areas of information that if discovered will give your organisation a jump on the competition.

Our clients include those in the private, NGO and public sectors.

Sample research experience

Principals of Catalyst Research have been involved in the following sample of assignments:

  • Examined the sector by sector impact of Chinese investment in East Africa
  • Assessed motor vehicle demand in Kenya for a donor trade agency
  • Examined the market potential of a new brand of coffee
  • Assessed the demand for a newly launched financial services product
  • Advised a bank on the best locations for a new branch based on five critical factors
  • For one of Kenya’s leading hotel chains, and a top international bank, assessed levels of staff engagement and implemented improvement measures
  • Reviewed the mismatch between the supply of graduates from the Kenyan public university system and the needs of the economy in terms of employers’ skills and aptitude demands
  • Evaluated the impact of the horticultural cooling facilities project on several dimensions.
  • Advised on the feasibility of a job creation project accessing the electronics market in component sub-assembly and being able to create jobs
Evaluation -- and Feasibility Studies
Evaluation 101: Did we do things right, and did we do the right things?

“The most important thing about any evaluation is that it asks two distinct questions: did we do things right, and did we do the right things. The first question is a matter of fact and involves an assessment of performance: given what we set out to do, how well did we do it? The second question is broader and more speculative in nature: given what we know now, how might we do things differently, if we were going to do it again? It is usually easy to be “wise after the fact”. So it is important to address these two questions separately, as we want to get a fair and useful result from an evaluation” notes Tim Cartwright.

Principals of aCatalyst Consulting have been involved in a broad range of programme and project evaluation exercises at both the stages of the mid term and final evaluation.

Feasibility studies

aCatalyst Consulting feasibility studies typically follow the format of assessing the project on a number of dimensions beginning with:

  • Fit with mandate, i.e., is this the type of project the organisation should get involved in
  • Operational assessment to assess how the various project elements will likely work in practice
  • Financial assessment using a number of financial analysis techniques.

Economic and financial analysis concerning issues of, for instance, feasibility and profitable investment has been an important part of many of the projects the principals of aCatalyst Consulting have been involved in.

Our track record: sample assignment experience

Principals of aCatalyst Consulting have been involved in the following sample of assignments:

  • Team leader on the final evaluation of the impact of the CIDA/KARI scholarship programme, a five year, $ 6 million programme that sent 68 Kenyans to study for masters and doctoral degrees at Canadian universities.
  • Conducted a mid term evaluation of this multi million dollar bilateral conservation and renewable energy, demonstration program to assess its cost effectiveness and administrative efficiency for Ontario Ministry of Energy & Energy Mines And Resources Canada
  • Working with Tim Cartwright & Associates evaluated the impact of a fellowship programme that supports doctoral dissertation research in the health and population studies in sub Saharan African universities.
  • On behalf of Japanese Bank For International Cooperation working with Intem, a firm of Japanese consultants evaluated the impact of the horticultural cooling facilities project on several dimensions.
  • On behalf of a major bank’s risk management division, reviewed a manufacturing operation that was having difficulty achieving its initial goals. Prepared revised financial projections and made recommendations in the areas of marketing, production and financial control.
  • Managed a study concerning the feasibility of AMREF constructing a multipurpose training centre applying a three dimensional framework to assess viability based on: (1) fit with mandate (2) operations, and (3) finance .
  • Directed a financial and management review of Umoja II, a 3,000 unit low cost Nairobi housing estate, funded by USAID.
  • Involved in a mid term evaluation of an NGO that had received over one million UK pounds from DFID.
  • Evaluated seven year multi million dollar agro-forestry project in Western Kenya for CIDA & CARE Kenya
  • Assessed the commercial viability of establishing a bicycle manufacturing facility in Kenya, to serve Kenya and surrounding preferential trade area [PTA] countries.