Designing for Inclusivity

The Challenge

SYPartners is a consulting firm that engages leaders to help envision possibilities for the future and then design the path to make that future real. The work focuses on the human experience of change, not the financial or operational maneuvers. When I began working at SYP I was surprised to learn that all the knowledge about SYP and its work was shared by word of mouth. Not having a centralized knowledge management system caused employees at all levels to feel excluded, ill-equipped, and confused. Having always been a proponent of inclusion and open-source content, I made it my mission to codify SYP’s POVs, practices, and case studies to help democratize knowledge.  


Our challenge was to develop an internal system, align leadership around it, and then activate employees at every level to use it. The end goal was to empower all SYPeas to approach client engagements with tact and ease. 


System strategy and


Curriculum design

Interviews and insights


The Process

A major unlock in the work was realizing the same process SYP uses to transform orgs—uncover, envision, align, and activate—can and should be applied to this initiative. Beginning with uncovering truths, we interviewed SYPeas of all levels to understand individual needs and created user profiles. We analyzed the types of work SYP does and the processes applied, and we crafted design principles to help us stay on track and ensure the system was relevant. The system needed to be inclusive to all experience levels, an ever-evolving form, and self-guided. We envisioned a future in which all SYPeas would be equipped with best-in-class materials and step-by-step-guidance to feel empowered to approach client engagements. We brought leadership along the journey by hosting co-creation sessions and reaching out for feedback during the process. 

We decided to build our guide and all the tools embedded in it in Google Slides so everything could continue to evolve with time and so that SYPeas could seamlessly copy and paste any of the content into their work without having to exit GSlides. While building the system we realized there were many missing parts so we were simultaneously building proposal templates, case studies, frameworks, exercises, decision-making filters, and more to fill in gaps.

The resource guide is designed to meet employees where they are. For those who know what they need, there’s a library for easy access to materials. For those with less experience, we laid out they step-by-step journey to help SYPeas navigate a typical client process.

Peruse the Biz Dev Library:

Peruse the Biz Dev Journey:

Take a closer look at the illustrations that are throughout the system:

The Result

SYPeas have embraced the guide with open arms. I learned that including the community on the journey ensures everyone feels seen and heard — and the end product is that much more anticipated by the users because it’s reflective of their needs and feedback.

A quote that exemplifies this is from Jason Baer, Managing Principal at SYPartners: “I have just three tabs open on my browser at all times now: email, calendar, and the Biz Dev Resource Guide. I turn to it every day for something—not just for BD, but also for client work, speaking gigs, etc. In all my years at SYP, this is one of the most helpful resources anyone has put together. You are amazing. Thank you.”