Structuring for Sustainable Growth

Our Work

Structuring for Sustainable Growth

Building consensus on priorities to support ESO’s swift expansion of activities

The Challenge

Across Europe, stroke accounts for over 1 million deaths each year, with the risk of death due to stroke varying substantially between countries.

The European Stroke Organisation (ESO)’s vision is to serve as the voice of stroke in Europe, harmonising stroke management across the whole of Europe, and taking action to reduce the burden of stroke regionally and globally.

The society has developed rapidly in recent years, including substantial growth of both membership and its annual congress, the launch of a journal, and several treatment improvement initiatives.

In the context of this swift expansion of activities, ESO engaged Exempla to develop a 3-year strategic plan, creating an organisational structure to encourage and facilitate further growth, and to guide the investment of ESO resources.

The Journey

This was the first formal strategic plan that ESO had developed, so the project began with developing a clear scope and key focus areas, which were agreed upon through a series of introductory calls with the working group comprising the Executive Committee, Board members and other volunteer leaders of key projects. The briefing phase also helped set expectations and define the respective role of the participants and the facilitator.

A key moment in the project was facilitating a face to face strategic workshop, building consensus around overall objectives and measures of success.

Given the number and breadth of ESO initiatives, a concerted effort was also made to liaise with many project owners, to ensure for buy-in to the strategic plan outcomes and avoid a disconnect between the vision developed by the Executive Committee and volunteer experts around the organisation.

A presentation was also prepared for the AGM at the annual congress, keeping all members aware of the overall project purpose and progress.

The Result

The project produced a concise strategy document, focusing on efficiently leveraging the efforts of committed volunteer experts and building momentum behind key projects.

Additionally, a full overview of projects and objectives was compiled, providing a single reference point for leaders and helping the onboarding of new volunteers and staff.

The outputs help the Executive Leadership to effectively oversee the further growth of the society with clear means to measure success and to evaluate new ideas.

Finally, condensed public versions of the strategy documents were provided, to help present a coherent vision to stakeholders.

View the strategic plan summary here:


We worked with Exempla to develop a strategic plan for our fast-growing society. They quickly identified the priorities we needed to focus on, and facilitated the consensus building across several leadership bodies. The resulting strategic plan provides a structure for continued growth and aligns the numerous projects that support our ambitious vision.

Valeria Caso,
President 2016-2018,
European Stroke Organisation



Read the public summary of the strategic plan:

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