Facilitating strategic planning 

good process lets your ideas come together

The French political philosopher De Condorcet showed it's possible, through a consultative process, to arrive at an outcome that pleases none of the participants.  Sound familiar?

Strategic planning needs to accomplish four key tasks: brainstorming and then defining a clear understanding of the problem, and doing the same for possible solutions.  

This is based on the UK Design Council's 'Double Diamond' design process model. Poor strategy results when planning goes too wide or doesn't narrow down the options enough.

The 'Double Diamond' Design Process Model developed by the UK Design Council

The 'Double Diamond' Design Process Model developed by the UK Design Council

A facilitator from DNM will guide your team through these tasks and constructively manage the personal and group dynamics that may emerge along the way.

See Strategy Writing to learn what we make of the findings -->

case study: reaching underscreened communities

In 2012 Daniel was Screening Program Adviser at Cancer Council Victoria, responsible for delivering a strategy to increase participation among Aboriginal peoples, culturally diverse communities and people in lower income areas.

With help from a crack team of admin staff, and following the AccountAbility SES100 Stakeholder Engagement Standard, he was able to pull together a consultation workshop in three weeks with meaningful participation by all three target communities.

By keeping the discussion focused on what could be done, the workshop generated a wealth of concrete and practical strategies to improve participation in screening.

Facilitating consultation and dialogue

Dialogue plays a central role in human services work, but so many consultation workshops fail to make the most of the discussions that happen in the room.

DNM's principal consultant Daniel Reeders honed his skills as a scribe and writer and facilitates with one ear constantly listening for how the discussion contributes to the end product -- a strategic document that can be used to guide and advocate for change.


Here are the key ingredients of the DNM approach to facilitating interactive discussions:

  • Start with short presentations: one expert overview and a personal perspective.
  • Break into small groups led by pre-briefed facilitators and scribes.
  • Don't try and constrain the conversation to answer a sequence of questions -- the scribe can jot down answers to prompt questions as he or she hears them.
  • The small group facilitator's job is to watch for gaps or moments where the group is getting stuck and to move the conversation onwards as necessary.
  • Record the small group discussions. Request permission to quote good ideas and insightful observations in the final report: we call this 'appreciative attribution'.
  • After the workshop, triangulate the scribed notes, the small groups and any whole-group discussion with published evidence and policy literature.

Findings developed using this approach have sustained major changes in policy. It produces reliable and trustworthy evidence because this approach enables you to answer two key questions: 'what do we know?' as well as 'how do we know it?'

If you'd like to learn more about how DNM can help you, please get in touch.