what we do
New Solutions Group is a Detroit-based, mission-driven consulting firm. We work for a diverse array of clients, including local, statewide and national community development organizations, regional chambers of commerce, foundations, nonprofit organizations, government, and for-profit entities. We increase efficacy by fostering partnerships, blending on-the-ground experience with policymaking, and building on existing and authentic strengths of communities. We keep inclusion and optimism at our core.
In addition to researching, designing, and crafting solutions, we often are engaged in the implementation of our work either as a means to assist in moving ideas from the drawing board to the real world, or on a long-term basis because of our expertise.
We help clients identify their goals, describe an inspiring vision, and muster all their assets toward achievement. Our strategic planning process centers around broad and meaningful stakeholder engagement and clarity around how we will know that something is working. Both of these aspects lead to greater ability for our clients to actually implement plans successfully. Our experience leading nonprofit initiatives gives us practical knowledge that helps our clients avoid likely pitfalls--and we are able to build flexibility into our plans so that they can stay relevant in the real world. We frequently stay with our clients as they begin to implement strategic plans, to ensure momentum continues from design to realization.
program design and implementation
Our clients often come to us with a particular challenge in the community to which they hope to design a response. Using some of the same principles that guide our strategic planning process--a focus on what we can learn from stakeholders and how we will know a program is working (outcome metrics)--we also blend different types of research to design programs that make a difference. From public policy to community systems change, from demographic research to interviews and focus groups, and from best practice studies to hyper-local knowledge and expertise, we are uniquely able to synthesize it all.
For a number of clients, we go beyond program design and have served almost as staff, either on an interim or longterm basis, providing the leadership needed for successful implementation or operations. This works for our clients because, in addition to being cost-effective, it creates flexibility to meet their staffing needs.
Policy research is where New Solutions Group really began. We believe policy can and does change people's lives, and focus our research--whether performing comparative scans, seeking best practices, or crafting policy solutions that are altogether new--on how it will result in better life outcomes for the members of our communities. Steve's experience in the state legislature means we have the experience not just to research policy, but to develop policy that can be enacted and effective.
stakeholder engagement + Coalition building
New Solutions’ approach to stakeholder engagement and coalition-building work comes from tremendous experience in charged environments. We lead a personalized process that is oriented to provide actionable results with buy-in and leadership. We root our work in deliberate processes that facilitate the co-generation capacity of groups, and especially groups whose members have diverse perspectives and interests. We attempt to prioritize relationship through authentic dialogue, and work to empower every member of a coalition to contribute equally to the leadership of the group. This approach relies on process to enact the belief that through unlikely partnerships we can find the greatest opportunities for creativity, innovation, and shared action.
Given our experience as nonprofit leaders, some clients have elected to to retain us to lead efforts one might otherwise expect to be staffed by an employee. After all, the functions we described above are many of the key functions a nonprofit executive might provide. When coupled with our particular expertise in a few distinct subject areas--from immigrant economic development to education to urban policy--there are certain situations where having New Solutions Group provide ongoing program or organizational leadership just makes sense. In these cases, we go beyond a standard consultant role, and may build organizational partnerships, raise funding, oversee staff, communicate with the board, and communicate with the public on behalf of our client.