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Participatory strategic planning

The Participatory Strategic Planning process is a consensus-building approach.  It helps a community come together in explaining how they would like their community or organisation to develop over the next few years, working in partnership with decision makers from the start.  It consists of four stages:

  1. The community determines their vision for the future of the organisation or community;
  2. The community describe the obstacles that are preventing them from reaching their vision with decision makers;
  3. Both the community and decision makers then move on to agree methods that will help them get past the obstacles as they work towards the vision;
  4. Implementation planning e.g. ‘what shall we do in the first year?’, and finally, ‘what shall we do in detail in the first 3 months?’

This approach requires two trained and experienced facilitators.

This method works well with a mixed group of participants (from 5-50 people) from all levels of the community/organisation. It is designed to be inclusive so a wide diversity can take part.

It comprises of a 2 day event with a recommended follow up 6 months later.

PositivesNegativesWill deliverWill not deliverCase studies
  • Flexible and applicable to multiple settings;
  • A remarkably quick way of enabling a diverse group to reach agreement;
  • Works for people with auditory as well as visual preferences;
  • Participants often find the process and outcome inspiring.
  • Requires experienced facilitators;
  • Requires buy-in and commitment beforehand from people in power;
  • Requires hard work and commitment on the day and subsequently;
  • Requires all major stakeholders to be in the room.
  • A clear idea of where participants want an organisation or community to go;
  • Consensus about directions;
  • Commitment to making things happen;
  • Stronger sense of being a team.
  • The fine detail.

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