Now you have a number of ideas for possible actions and solutions, you will need to create a plan for how these ideas will come into being
Planning involves several key steps which may include:
- prioritise ideas for action, based on the ideas you have generated above
- agree on actions to take
- commit, align resources, and establish roles
- develop a plan of action
A good plan should cover all of the ‘W’s – starting with why, then what, when, where, who as well as the how. Elements of a good plan might include:
- Purpose of plan
- Themes for change
- Shared vision and outcomes
- Actions and projects
- Assets and resourcing
- Partners and stakeholders
- Governance mechanisms
- Evaluation processes, including indicator measurements and targets
It can be very challenging and time-consuming to draw together diverse threads into a comprehensive plan with clear priorities and agreed-upon actions. It is good to be aspirational, but it is also importance to stick to realistic, manageable actions. It can be helpful to focus on the highest impact opportunities to work together (known in collective impact as mutually reinforcing, high leverage activities), rather than trying to capture everything happening in the community in the plan. It can also be helpful to think about how to capture efforts to work towards the collective vision without necessarily imposing strict standardised structures on how people choose to work towards the shared goal.
Careful facilitation is required throughout a planning process or minority voices may still go unheard. In this respect, dedicate time to planning how you will facilitate your planning session. Refer back to Facilitate conversations in 2) Finding shared vision for resources.
Some additional tools that can be used to help a group prioritise and identify a course of action include Dotmocracy, the ORID discussion method, and generative decision-making. Our sample community action planning document draws on some of these processes in a one-day workshop to help groups design local solutions to a shared vision. The project-planning template provides an example of a template that can be used to start unpacking what it would take to reach a particular goal.
Once you have a plan, a great format for sharing it more widely is through a roadmap, or another visual representation. It can also be helpful to create a one-page version of your plan to better communicate it with the broader community.