‘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.
Does engaging with corporations compromise independence and integrity or reduce pressure on nature, and mobilise resources for conservation? Pepe Clark’s 2016 paper discusses key lessons for conservation leaders, including the need for conservation organisations to develop robust analytical frameworks to inform engagement with the private sector, and the importance of building movement wide capacity to influence corporate policy and practice.
A critical path charts a sequence of outcomes or changes that are necessary between where we are (here and now) and the resolution of the problem we’re campaigning to solve. This tool helps campaigners to articulate their assumptions about how the intended change will be brought about, step by step. It’s a powerful tool that challenges us to set tactics and communication to one side while we (first) develop a shared understanding about how things are most likely to change.
It’s next to impossible to make a difference on a huge problem. How you ‘cut’ the problem into issues will influence your prospects of success, and the consequent impact. What parts of the problem (and the solution) are amenable to your influence?
A set of considerations to critically appraise strategic decisions.
This activity examines various forces affecting a movement including external groups, internal division, psychological powers and blocks. It’s a terrific way for your group or network to share perspectives and information that will help define what’s possible and how to maximise your influence and impact. Macro Strategy is a kinesthetic way to introduce this activity.
Randy Stoecker’s political opportunity structure helps community organisers to think through strategy on a spectrum of confrontation to consensus.
An exercise to map who’s who to prioritise points of influence or change, and generate ideas for strategy: a great exercise to focus your campaign efforts.
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. Developed by Lisa VeneKlasen and Valerie Miller.
Introduces four purposes of strategy.
Learn to recognise and value the diversity of roles played in your organisation, including your own strengths and blind spots!
This people-sized board game developed by Karen Ridd (Training for Change) is useful to introduce a strategic framework, review issues and practice creative brainstorming.
An activity to assist groups select effective tactics by thinking more strategically.
A powerful tool to help groups shift focus from tactics to strategy.
Abstract from Bill Moyer (1989) The Practical Strategist: Movement Action Plan strategic theories for Evaluating, Planning and Conducting Social Movements. Social Movement Empowerment Project.
A great exercise to encourage people to recognise and empathise with different viewpoints relating to a social problem, developed by Christine Herzog of AWEA.
An outline and resources for a 3 hour workshop to facilitate political analysis, reflection and dialogue as a precursor to strategising.
Encourages groups to articulate their beliefs about power and agency, and to work towards a match between their beliefs and actions.
A tool for envisioning specific features of the kind of society participants would like to create, and facilitating development of a common vision and shared values.
An experiential exercise to clarify the difference between goals, tactics and strategy.