Strategic Doing is a way to work together using an agile approach, specifically designed for open, loosely-connected networks. Strategic Doing is designed for situations in which nobody can tell anybody else what to do (sound like higher education?). Collaboration is the only way to move forward.
How does it work?
Strategic Doing works by teaching simple, but not easy, skills of strategic collaboration. The skills are simple to understand, but they take practice to master. We teach the skills primarily through three to four hour strategy workshops, either free-standing or as part of a larger project (like Epicenter’s Pathways initiative). Strategic Doing helps teams generate an initial plan in a matter of hours. The process quickly forms new collaborations among participants and moves them into learning by doing.
As these collaborations form and participants learn from each other, Strategic Doing advances quickly. Short, focused strategy reviews take place regularly, usually every 30 days. With Strategic Doing, strategy becomes more like software development. New versions of the strategy appear frequently as participants learn what works.
What’s the difference between Strategic Doing and the strategic plan we’ve already got at our institution?
Strategic planning was designed primarily to guide activity in hierarchical organizations (the military and traditional corporate structures). In higher education, strategic planning often means long meetings that don’t accomplish anything except a list of goals and milestones that no one is really accountable for. However, given the reality of strategic planning in most universities, Strategic Doing can be used as an agile process to accelerate implementation of existing plans, as well as to initiate and implement new efforts that fit within the larger strategic mission of the university.
Where has Strategic Doing worked?
We have applied Strategic Doing in a wide variety of contexts both in and outside of higher education, including interdisciplinary research initiatives, economic development, and community-based efforts in low-income cities and neighborhoods. We’re using the approach in a number of engineering education initiatives – most notably the Pathways project and Purdue’s re/course effort.
We’ll have more resources on Strategic Doing here soon, but until then look here for additional information.