8. Creating a strategy

The Strategy Map on this page will ensure you're familiar with key tools specifically useful to you / your issue. Together they will help you create a winning strategy - using the Strategy Template that follows.


WAIT - WHAT's A STRATEGY?

The diagram below describe how Strategy fits into the wider context of any action - whether large or small, personal or political.

Strategy is a fancy word for coming up with a long-term plan and putting it into action
— Ellie Pidot

Diagram illegible? View in landscape mode or on a desktop computer.

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A. VISION

Your "vision" is the ultimate change you want to see. Typically it's beyond your control but within your influence.

e.g. more fulfilling and healthy lives for rural families across Southern India

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B. PURPOSE

The specific "piece" of the vision YOU are contributing to. This focuses your actions, organisation, strategy etc. 

e.g. increased and more rewarding school attendance in one city state

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C. IMPACT

What will ultimately change as a direct result of what you do

e.g. 1000 people in Kerala live longer and contribute so much social value to society and so much $ to the economy

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D. STRATEGY

The overarching process or "pathway" which will guarantee you deliver your impact and purpose. Sometimes also known as your "theory of change".

e.g. provide free school meals SO THAT  children attend SO THAT they upskill...

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E. ACTIVITIES / TACTICS / COMMUNICATIONS

The day-to-day actions and relationships which will see that your strategy is implemented.

e.g. fundraising, purchasing food, promoting the benefits to parents

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F. REVIEW (or EVALUATION)

 

The ways you will check whether your strategy is having the desired impact, and if it really supports your purpose.

e.g. school register, parental feedback

Strategy Map


HOW TO USE THE STRATEGY MAP

Work instinctively through the four questions below. As you do, jot down the suggested tools that feel most relevant to you or your issue; then explore them by yourself or with a group of friends, colleagues, neighbours etc - as appropriate. Together they will help you clarify and test what you think you know. Use whatever you learn to then fill in the Strategy Planner template.

Notes:

  • If you've already gone through the Action Toolkit in detail you may  have covered several of these already.
  • The tool can be used for both personal and social action for the common good.

 

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1. Where’s the problem & what’s mine to do?

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Explore “Dimensions of an issue” and “Finding my way in”  tools

 
 
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2. What KIND OF ACTION COULD I TAKE?

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(a) RESIST something

...if faced by a clear threat to the common good.

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Explore our “Polarisation” and “Social movement” tools

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(b) REFORM SOMETHING

...if the systems we are part of can feasibly be transformed.

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Explore our “Transformative conversations” and “Political rights” tools

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(c) CREATE THE NEW

...if key systems consistently fail to create change.

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Explore our “Prototyping” tool (starting small)

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3. What’s my end goal?

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(a) A Specific PIECE OF functional change

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Explore our “Pathway” tool to map a logical pathway to achieve your goal, advancing advance one step at a time.

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(b) A Broad [cultural] SWEEP OF change

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Explore our “Iceberg”, “Working with conflict" and “Social movement”” tools

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IN BOTH CASES...

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Define your audience and the SIMPLE STORY which will speak to them. Explore “Telling the right story”.

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4. What resources do I need, in what order?

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(a) HEAD

Inspiration, information, ideas

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(b) HEART

Encouragement and support

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Start a Free the Change group if you haven't already! And make use of our "Wellbeing" tools.

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(c) HAND

A core team or specific skills

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Explore our "Creative Activities" and "Prototyping" tools (starting small).



The Critical Pathway

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All issues are complex, but if you are trying to motivate rather than educate you need to understand, create or anticipate the simple chain of events or messages that will lead to the achievable goal you want to see.

Think of a line of dominos. Work backwards from your end goal (red domino) to map each link in the chain of impact. Some may be falling already - leaving you free to start with what's most energising for you personally. If not - you'll need to give some energy to knocking down the first domino!

ADVANCED TIPS

  • Persevere with each stage - which may include several steps - until it is achieved.
  • Resist the temptation to move onto (or send messages about) what lies ahead. This includes not telling "the whole story" to everyone at every stage, no matter how important it feels. It will only complicate things - for you and those you need to influence.
 
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Our Strategy Planner includes a Critical Pathway template you can use.

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 A simplified critical pathway for a campaign to change the law.

A simplified critical pathway for a campaign to change the law.

 How individual pathways contribute to SOCIAL MOVEMENTS.

How individual pathways contribute to SOCIAL MOVEMENTS.

 

STAGES OF A PATHWAY

Critical paths can also be planned at different intersecting levels: for example, SCALE: how does it happen on your street; then in your neighbourhood; then across your city. Or STAGES: how do we engage our audience; then get them to pledge; then get them to act. In the example below of the Fair Trade movement's campaign to create a Fair Trade Nation in Scotland, the national stage could never have happened without first winning local commitments by communities across Scotland.

Click on image to enlarge,