Honesty Report 2019-2020

Values are more than good intentions

Stone Soup presents its Honesty Report 2019-2020. It takes into account a two-year period and aims at verifying if and how Stone Soup’s Theory of change is valid, as well as what have been the main impacts during this period on our stakeholders. We ask ourselves: does being a social consultancy make any difference?
Continue Reading Values are more than good intentions

Values are more than good intentions

Stone Soup presents its Honesty Report 2019-2020. Our biggest underlying questions are: is the consultancy sector, which has grown bigger every year for the last decades, helping in any way the social economy to maximise its impact? Does being a social consultancy make any difference? 

June 22nd 2022
By Cláudia Pedra, Stone Soup Managing Partner


As everyone in management knows, the best people are scattered all over the world. Back in 2008, it was clear to Stone Soup, that limiting our recruitment to just one geographical region would restrict the quality and diversity of the people we would integrate in our community of consultants. So, since the very beginning we were born as a remote community. People that live in different continents, with different backgrounds and trainings, joined by principles and values. A community focused on capacity building, empowerment, but also delivering flexible and customised solutions.    

As the pandemic swept the world, Stone Soup consultants were a little better prepared than others, as they had been working for 12 years remotely. They knew how to navigate the technology, how to provide training and advice by videoconference, how to manage from afar, and even how to divide their professional lives from their personal ones, working from home. But like everyone, they were not prepared for the severe impact of confinement, of juggling family and work in close proximity, and for feeling limited and restrained. So, like all, they needed support. As the technical tools were in place, we focused on providing emotional and psychological support. We innovated and changed. We created well-being sessions, virtual hangouts, we provided our consultants with new tools to cope. But we did not focus only on our internal stakeholders. We witnessed several organisations failing and even collapsing under the challenges of the pandemic, unprepared to deal with the change and urgent strategic decision making. So, we created Recipes for Impact, a pro bono programme aimed at helping organisations to rethink their strategies and models, change their communication and their fundraising. We provided hundreds of pro bono hours, to help them navigate the uncertainty of the pandemic and build resilience. But building resilience is a process that takes time and has a wide array of challenges. There are always new crises looming, some more predictable than others. As consultants we have the ever-challenging task of helping organisations and entrepreneurs to be prepared for the unexpected and learn and develop in response to it.  

In times of crisis, ethics is more important than ever

In times of crisis, it was also clear that ethics was more important than ever, and that Stone Soup should steer its community through the challenges posed. To increase our transparency, we created our first ever accountability newsletter. To show the world how our company was managed, and which benefits we had brought to our clients. We reinforced our internal support to the community also from our Ethics Commission and started working on our new Diversity and Inclusion policy. This new policy, which was a collaborative effort with external experts (as we had done before with the Ethics Code), positioned to the world how diversity benefits companies and thus society, showcasing how Stone Soup itself was built on diversity and gains daily with it.  

With the pandemic we had to deal with adaptation. We changed systems and strategies and worked on new dynamic approaches to get people engaged across the screens. It wasn’t easy to do so, especially with systems crashing, videoconferences not working or internet failures. We are also painfully aware that remote relationships are not exactly the same, and that some things still have to be done in person. So, even in the midst of confinement, some consultants still travelled to remote locations to support clients. Learning together new and strange protocols for interacting. However, in these tough pandemic years, we are proud to announce that we continued to be able to develop meaningful and fruitful relationships with clients spread all over the world. Our support staff helped the company navigate through change, being available to provide their colleagues with systems that could relief the burden of their work and make them feel protected.  

We continue improving

But not all worked. Not all trainings went perfectly. Not all projects had the results and impacts intended. Personal, face to face meetings were missed. Relationships could have been stronger. Trust took a little more time to be built. We did fail. For that reason, we collect lessons learned, and aim to use them to continue improving. And we showcase both success and failure in our Honesty Report.  

Looking at the results and impacts of this 2019-2020 Honesty Report we are so happy to see that clients continue to praise our technical, but also our human skills and that our work has generated impact, so much that many say they wish to work with us again. This is our measure of success. In this very challenging world, we tried to live as best as we could the values of the company, as values are not a list of good intentions but should be drivers of the change you want to see in the world.  

*Stone Soup’s Honesty Report 2019-2020 draws on the previous period’s findings, conclusions and recommendations. It aims at verifying if and how Stone Soup’s Theory of change is valid, as well as what have been the main impacts that could be evidenced during this period, on our community of consultants, our clients, and in the social ecosystem. 


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