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New Vision & Mission

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After more than 100 years, The San Francisco Zoo changes direction...


Over recent decades, the San Francisco Zoo has become a conservation organization leading the way in helping many endangered species to recover in captivity. In the 1990s, the Zoo began a process of rebuilding the Zoo to create more appropriate habitat for the animals, but the Zoo's mission of conservation was becoming less and less appropriate for an expensive facility in the middle of a major city. Maybe the mission could be served as well if it operated from a less expensive location

What we did:

  • Designed the process for enabling a new vision and mission for the Zoo to emerge
  • Facilitated meetings of the Board, senior management team and staff to envision, brainstorm, debate and agree a new mission
  • Designed the (60 person) Board retreat at which the new mission was debated and approved
  • Designed and facilitated a process to feedback requests for support to the senior management team
  • Introduced a pro bono strategy consulting team to design the strategy for delivering the new vision and mission


  • All stakeholders clarified that their purpose was to serve the San Francisco residents, to connect people to animals, and to advance and inspire conservation
  • The Zoo sought to change its mission from being a conservation Zoo to being a Zoo which inspires conservation - a radical and relevant new approach
  • The management team sought and obtained Board approval for the new mission
    The staff began the process of becoming equipped and confident to educate rather to conserve
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