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political analysis

'Big picture' or political analysis is a critical element in strategising. Before choosing targets or tactics, we need to closely and critically examine the context we're working in. What forces might facilitate or impede change? Who holds the greatest influence? What changes or outcomes are we working toward - exactly? What are our strengths and weaknesses?

These political analysis tools and frameworks are designed to inform, motivate and enhance strategic action. Many of them are elements of our 'strategising for change' workshops.

Critical Path Analysis (116k pdf) - Challenges organisers to envision a sequence of changes on the path to their desired social changes. One of our favourites.
Cutting the issue (212k pdf) - It's next to impossible to make a difference on a huge problem. How you 'cut' it will influence your prospects of success and identify achievable and meaningful changes your group can help bring about.
Elements of strategy (108k pdf) - A set of considerations to critically appraise strategic decisions.
Forcefield analysis (88k pdf) - A structured approach to identify forces contributing to or blocking change.
Political Opportunity Structure (224k pdf) - Randy Stoecker's political opportunity structure helps community organisers to think through strategy on a spectrum of confrontation to consensus.
Power and social change (28k pdf) - three faces of power. Great article from the Grassroots Policy Project on the nature of power and building in for social change.
Power mapping (60k pdf) - Map out who's who to prioritise points of influence or change, and generate ideas for strategy: a great exercise pre- or mid-campaign.
The Practical Strategist - Abstract from Bill Moyer (1989) The Practical Strategist: Movement Action Plan strategic theories for Evaluating, Planning and Conducting Social Movements. Social Movement Empowerment Project.
Problem tree analysis (180k pdf) - This exercise is used to analyse the root causes of a problem and to identify the primary consequences. The tree provides a visual structure for the analysis.
Review of activities (92k pdf) - Introduces four purposes of strategy.
Roles in tension (132k pdf) - Learn to recognise and value the diversity of roles played in your organisation, including your own strengths and blind spots!
Strategy board game (105k pdf) - This people-sized board game is useful to introduce a strategic framework, review issues and practice creative brainstorming to overcome campaign challenges and obstacles.
Tactics analysis (84k pdf) - Challenges organisers to consider how much power and energy their tactics create, show and take.
Tactics to strategy (116k pdf) - A powerful tool to help groups shift focus from tactics to strategy.
The wave: where we stand in relation to...[156k pdf] - A great exercise to encourage people to recognise and empathise with different viewpoints relating to a social problem, developed by Christine Herzog of AWEA.
Theories of change (88k pdf) - Encourages groups to articulate their beliefs about power and agency, and to work towards a match between their beliefs and actions.
Theories and mechanisms of change - An outline and resources for a 3 hour workshop to facilitate political analysis, reflection and dialogue as a precursor to strategising.
Vision gallery (96k pdf) - Stretches people's imaginations in envision and articulate the kind of society they would like to create, going beyond vague values to specific features.
What is strategy (92k pdf) - An experiential exercise to clarify the difference between goals, tactics and strategy.