British Deaf Association

Founded in 1890, the British Deaf Association (BDA) is a national Deaf-led organisation that works directly with Deaf people that use British Sign Language (BSL). Their work concentrates on campaigning for equal rights on a national level and working at a local level empowering Deaf people to achieve access to their local public services. This is carried out through projects delivering individual and community advocacy. They also work to ensure BSL is included by public bodies by delivering a public commitment through signing the BSL Charter.

Project Context

The British Deaf Association (BDA) approached Nine Feet Tall due to a pivotal change in leadership. With a newly developed 10-year strategy for the organisation, the objective was to realign the organisational structure to ensure successful execution of this strategy. A major challenge facing the BDA was streamlining its existing structure to reduce communication and reporting inefficiencies and improve resource allocation.


Project Delivery

Nine Feet Tall initiated the transformation process by conducting in-depth stakeholder interviews within the BDA. These interviews provided valuable insights into the strengths and weaknesses of the current organisational structure, laying the groundwork for the organisation redesign. Working closely with the BDA, Nine Feet Tall established a set of fundamental design principles that the new organisational model would be tested against. These principles aimed to consolidate reporting lines to the upper leadership teams and eliminate role overlaps to enhance clarity and efficiency.

Following this initial phase, Nine Feet Tall ran an Operating Model Canvas workshop, focussing on aligning the BDA structure with the future activities necessary to achieve their new strategy. This involved a meticulous process of populating the OMC model step by step. As a result, gaps in the current structure were identified, and necessary changes agreed upon. Discussions revolved around the assessment of current services and their alignment with the strategic vision, including considerations for potential service adjustments.

Building upon the insights gathered during the OMC workshop and guided by the established design principles, NFT developed a new organisational structure for the BDA. This structure was designed to optimise resource allocation, streamline communication, and align activities with the strategic vision.

Project Outcomes

As a result of the collaboration between Nine Feet Tall and the British Deaf Association, the BDA now possesses a well-defined organisational model that aligns seamlessly with the leadership’s strategic vision. This model provides clarity on how the organisation should function and deliver its services to achieve success in delivering their 10-year strategy. Secondly, NFT is providing ongoing support to help the BDA’s senior management team navigate the implementation phase. This support encompasses guidance on executing the recommended organisational redesign plans. Ultimately, this realignment enhances efficiency, accountability, and alignment with the organisation’s long-term vision, empowering the Deaf community in the UK more effectively.