Transformation that is organic can be too slow and too fast with a “big bang” approach. It needs to be progressive, paced and relevant to the daily operations of people

Many public sector organisations are faced with sustained budgetary pressures at a time when citizens’ expectations are increasing, in terms of the delivery of impactful services and the quality of projects. Leaders are being challenged to deliver improved performance with fewer resources in a rapidly changing and increasingly complex environment.

This means organisations often need to change their visions, strategies, organisational structures, processes, performance management and information management systems. It can also put greater demands on their workforce. All of this needs to be paced, but is difficult to achieve without outside assistance.

The risks of slow change

Trying to change over time is often hampered by day to day work – urgent tasks take priority. Also, the build-up of bureaucracies and silos is common and difficult to change, much like outdated technological systems and procedural habits. Adding new systems and processes is often easier than changing or abandoning old ones, but is not always the right approach. This is evident in Saudi Arabia, where we are setting up Municipal Development Companies (MDCs) to support the Ministry of Municipal and Rural Affairs (MoMRA) in bridging the gap between public and private sector, enabling the delivery of innovative projects to address key city issues.

Fresh insights from broad and deep experience

Buro Happold works with organisations from within, to help them deliver their ever changing mandates. We bring a fresh perspective deeply rooted in our understanding of how cities work but highly customised to the specific organisations’ circumstances and needs. We underpin this by our equally deep rooted technical and sector knowledge which ensures that all actions are both effective and implementable.

This allows us to address and resolve challenges at any stage of the lifecycle process whether these occur at a strategic level, or during implementation or operations. We stand by our clients’ side to see through implementation of the changes – often the hardest part of the process.

Future Riyadh is a project where our 30 years of knowledge and experience in the city has allowed us to work directly with the Municipality to establish four priority programmes, aligned to the city’s major policy areas that will raise the quality of life for the citizens.

Towards greater efficiency

One of our hallmarks is to work in a collaborative manner whilst building organisational capacity in the shortest possible time. Organisational development cannot work with a “big bang” approach. It needs to be progressive and relevant to the daily operations of people, and needs to be sustained and supported from top level management.

We have helped create Tuwaiq Learning and Development Academy to enable the Arriyadh Development Authority (ADA) to develop an organisational development strategy with emphasis on HR and people development.

In summary our work assists organisations to improve the quality of projects, services portfolios and programmes, achieve better value for money and greater responsiveness to citizen needs. Our detailed work can be categorised in two ways:

Organisation Development


  • Strategy and planning / Strategy Management Office (SMO)
  • Organisational design and restructuring (turnaround strategies)
  • Organisational efficiency
  • Communications and change management
  • Citizen engagement
  • Human capital development / learning
  • Assessment centres

Portfolio and Program Management


  • Enterprise level management offices (DMOs, PMOs) at project, programme and portfolio level
  • Project Management Information Systems (PMIS)
  • Capability building
  • Performance management

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