Strategy facilitation is the art of guiding groups in a process to do strategic planning. Strategy consulting, on the other hand, is more about consultants gathering information and advising clients on matters of strategic planning.
As strategy facilitators, we bring together the best visual tools, processes, and methodologies available for strategic planning.
Graphic Facilitation. We use Graphic Facilitation for creating big picture visualizations in real time with groups. The important elements of the group’s conversations and processes are mapped out in real time in front of the group on large 4-foot by 8-foot wallcharts. Meetings are consistently more participatory, creative, and strategic — and achieve greater productivity than those led with conventional facilitation. The discipline of graphic facilitation was pioneered and developed by SRI International, Interaction Associates, and The Grove Consultants International. Most of the graphic templates we use are available as Graphic Guides® from the Grove.
Mind Mapping. An alternative to using large paper wallcharts, mind mapping software allows us to work by computer and project maps on the wall while working with a group. Mind maps developed as a way of mirroring the way our brains process information, and are readily grasped and easily developed in group processes.
Group Process. Considering diverse perspectives, getting an entire organization aligned, and involving outside stakeholders all require group process expertise. We have extensive experience designing and leading processes that include multi-team dialog, stakeholder engagement, group decision-making, and virtual team technologies.
Creative Visioning. Getting a group to shift from near-term operational thinking to long-term possibility thinking requires tools and skills in creative visioning. We have acquired a virtual toy box of exercises and processes from the fields of creativity, visioning, improvisation, scenario planning, and multimedia.
Strategy Mapping. Strategy mapping is a way of developing visual strategy using a building-block approach. Strategies at multiple levels in an organization can connect to each other in a top-down hierarchy. Maps can be easily translated into Balanced Scorecards and other performance management tools. Our Strategy Map tool is based in part on the work of Harvard professors Robert Kaplan & David Norton.
We offer two modes of working with groups. We determine the best mode for each retreat and meeting, and often blend the two together.
|Paper & Markers
(large paper wallcharts)
(maps projected on screen)
|The hand-drawn, cartoonish look & feel is inviting and informal (although some people think it looks amateurish).||The business-like graphics feel professional, clean, and polished and are easy to convert into derivative materials.|
|Engaging to work with, especially for small groups and breakout sessions.||More time-efficient to work with. Works well for large groups.|
|High level of structure guides group conversation.||Extreme flexibility allows for quick & easy brainstorm and structuring on-the-fly.|
|Works well for standardized templates (expensive to customize).||Very easy to customize templates for each project.|
|Requires lots of wall space and transportation of paper & supplies.||Requires a projector, screen, and dimmable lights.|
|Examples: Strategic Visioning||Examples: Strategy Mapping|
Both mediums offer the primary benefits of graphic facilitation:
- Visual metaphors, color, and spatial layout
- Seeing the big picture
- Inviting participation, engagement, & creativity
- Collaborative group process
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