StrategyWorks Blue Cross Case Study

Blue Cross Case Study

About Blue Cross

Blue Cross is a registered animal welfare charity in the United Kingdom, founded in 1897 as Our Dumb Friends League, to care for working horses on the streets of the British capital. It opened the first animal hospital in Victoria in May 1906 and they helped care for the pets of members of the Armed Forces, as well as the general public, through two world wars.

Nowadays the charity provides veterinary care, offers expert behavioural help, provides pet food banks and finds homes for pets in need. Their pet bereavement service supports those who are struggling to cope with the loss of a much-loved pet and they also campaign on various animal welfare issues.

BlueCross is also providing support for pets in Ukraine following the Russia conflict.

The charity works closely with a number of other organisations to help animal welfare and responsible pet ownership.

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BlueCross have historically completed several strategic planning initiatives over the years which have created a number of strategic frameworks. A new CEO recently joined and is looking to refocus the strategy, outcomes and to create clarity of purpose across the whole organisation and its stakeholders.

As Deputy CEO and responsible for overseeing the development and execution of the strategy, Iain Heaton’s dream was to have a combined portfolio view of the projects within the strategy, to know what was really adding value and know the status of everything at the touch of a button.


  1. A previously defined Impact Framework and strategic plan which were not explicitly linked, which made it hard to know if the strategy would deliver the desired impact.
  2. The strategic plan did not state in sufficient detail, how objectives would be achieved.
  3. Different people involved in delivery were at very different standards and levels of maturity.
  4. Limited familiarity across the organisation with different project management tools or online ways of tracking progress.
  5. Objectives and KPIs not defined and agreed
  6. A large portfolio of delivery work was ongoing across organisation which needs to be rationalised and aligned to the strategy.
  7. Large number of complex systems and spreadsheets to track the different elements of the strategy which were difficult to maintain.
  8. Limited approach to track value for money of delivery work and the impact
Blue Cross Case Study history image

StrategyWorks support

  1. Delivery of a structured strategic planning process via workshops and online sessions to rework the existing strategic framework under a simpler strategy execution hierarchy and help develop a detailed view of programmes and projects which will ultimately deliver the strategy.
  2. Coordinated the creation of new objectives (and target KPIs) to support the mission and vision with the Exec Team and to allow them to show that the desired impact was being achieved.
  3. Supported definition and implementation approach for the agreed key KPIs through workshops (Interventions, etc)
    Supported planning alignment of the delivery portfolio to objectives and outcomes.
  4. Provided detailed resource analysis of availability against strategic initiatives to help Blue Cross understand whether they had the resource they required to deliver everything in the strategy.
  5. Aligning benefits and outcomes from programmes and projects to key KPIs.
  6. Implementing StrategyWorks to provide transparency of progress, easier reporting and live insight into the ongoing strategy execution.
Blue Cross today

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The impact we made

 As a result of our work, BlueCross has:

  1. Clarity on the strategic delivery plan, clear ownership, a faster, simpler way of tracking the progress of work.
    Agreed set of objectives of KPIs which should provide a clear ongoing view that the strategy is delivering its intended impact.
  2. A single, integrated, online method to capture progress where everyone can see everyone else’s work.
  3. Raised everyone’s ability to report, track and manage the execution of the strategy on StrategyWorks to a common standard.
  4. Ability to report and analyse the strategy faster and more effectively at the touch of a button with the aim of allowing the leadership teams to know what is and isn’t working.
  5. A clear way of linking project benefits to the performance measures and KPIs which allows them to see projects which aren’t adding value and what is most important.
  6. Clarity about areas that can now be developed further and the timeline to achieve.


Iain Heaton, Deputy CEO of BlueCross

Iain Heaton

Deputy CEO

“Working with StrategyWorks has been a huge help to us. It has allowed us to realise the gaps we had in our approach to strategic planning and execution. Will and the team have helped us with various pieces of work to enable us to fill those gaps and have always been incredibly helpful and supportive.

Putting the whole strategy onto StrategyWorks has allowed us to have an overview of all the different parts of it and enables us to run different reports to see progress of the different elements or areas like risks across the portfolio. The system allows us to link the outputs from individual projects through to our overarching KPI’s and objectives so we will be able to see how each project is contributing to our desired objectives.

Though we know we still have work to do to achieve complete maturity in our strategic planning and execution, we feel that the work we have done with Shapecast has really helped us take some big strides forwards and we look forwards to the rest of the journey with optimism.”

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