We were invited to bid on a strategic planning process for “GWA” (not the actual name of the firm) that had all the markings of a nightmare project: the whole project would need to be completed within two and a half months and involve the workforce, key external stakeholders and a geographically dispersed Board; the organization runs on a 24-hour-a-day schedule; and some of the leadership team was already convinced that starting a for-profit entity was the answer. The project mandate led us to create a multi-layered approach that incorporated and blended applications of Appreciative Inquiry (AI), Open Space Technology (OST), Whole Person Process Facilitation™ (WPPF), a benchmark study, and a technology-based version of Open Space Technology called OpenSpace-Online™ Real Time Conferencing software. We completed
the project within the given timeframe and created a number of positive impacts in the wake of this planning “speedboat.”
The goals for the strategic planning process were to:
(i) Build a five-year strategic plan for GWA;
(ii) Create a business case within the context of the overall strategic plan that would inform GWA’s decision about whether to launch a for-profit business venture; and
(iii) Provide input from the five-year plan for GWA’s one-year operating plan for Fiscal Year 2005.