The Joy Of Strategic Planning

At Nomadways we always take the time to reflect on our work and creatively brainstorm how to make it more awesome next time. Here are some insights from our kitchen.

Yes, planning can be fun. You simply need to make it enjoyable.

Strategic planning grounds your dreams. A comprehensive planning tool can help an organization by providing a blueprint for moving from ideas via actions to positive outcomes for your community. An example of ineffective organisational document is a dry, thick report that people only refer to when they need some quotes to put into application form. Powerful strategic document is the living, breathing force behind the actions of an organization. It is the bridge that connects people from where they are to where they want to be.

Within Nomadways we were recently wondering how can we bring this kind of lightness and positivity into our organizational strategy. During our Warsaw’s retreat we managed to change boring planning into creative and artistic experiment.

Exercises you can try with your NGO

Subjective mapping — values, mission & vision quest

Maps, in our imaginary, carry much more objectivity than they actually do in reality. However, maps are actually a form of representation that is characterized by just as much subjectivity than any other forms. They only show what make sense in their system of logic, they use a more or less complex aesthetic vocabulary and they often emphasize the importance of some of their included elements.

We used technique of subjective mapping to work on our personal values, ambitions and role in the Nomadways as well as team’s visions and goals. We started from drawing our personal dream landscape. It was a symbolic self-portrait focusing on life and work, personal values, mission, vision. Each of us highlighted the aspects that we could — even partly realizing through Nomadways. Then we created Nomadways landscape with the sum of the shared aspects.

Through powerful and yet simple visualization, new ideas and connections were encouraged. At the end of a session we had a map of all the ideas generated in the session, which encourages further connections and ideas to develop after the meeting.

Creative writing — hyperlinked poetry on values, mission and vision

An important part of strategic planning is dressing ideas into words and spreading them. Usually typical ‘business’ writing seeks to share information; creative writing seeks the best way to share it. It ponders what words, style and means are the best vehicles. It asks how the message can be sharpened and acts as a catalyst. This activity was inspired by Joanna Pomykalska’s workshop about hypertexts and hyperlink poetry.

In computing, a hyperlink is a reference to data which the reader can directly follow, or that is followed automatically. A hyperlink points to a whole document or to a specific element within. A hyperlink has an anchor, which is the location within a certain type of a document from which the hyperlink can be followed only from the homepage. For example, in an online reference work such as Wikipedia, many words and terms in the text are hyperlinked to definitions of those terms. Hyperlinks are often used to implement reference mechanisms, such as tables of contents, footnotes, bibliographies, indexes, letters, and glossaries.

For this exercise we used all doodles and texts that we have produced during previous sessions. We cut them into pieces and spread them around the table. Then we used some of them to create three poems on Nomadways values, mission & vision. We were rearranging the elements until we found the final version of each text.

Creative writing and its various techniques are perhaps the brain’s equivalent of a decathlon: it forces you to think, pay attention to personal feelings and public perceptions, to communicate effectively, to be innovative as well as feasible, and to let loose all with the purpose of generating statement you can be proud of.

Mind Map Brainstorming

The word brainstorming has become an ubiquitous term for creative thinking.

The core principle of brainstorming is to suspend judgment during the generation phase of thinking. Analysis, prioritization, and judgment take place after ideas are generated. This frees the mind to make connections and abstractions, shift perspectives, and explore alternatives without the constraints and structure that judgment brings.

We used the creation of mind maps to define tasks and roles in Nomadways both as a team and individual. We took into account what we are exactly doing and what we would love to do. Later through detailing skills and requirements we brainstormed how to reach our goals and dreams.

Elaborated by our Kika at our #Warswoah retreat with love and joy.

About Nomadways

We craft international workshops for artists, educators and youth workers. Together we create pedagogical artwork, share and invent practical solutions to social problems.