Engaging Communities Through Issues Forums

Using Strategic Doing™ Dur ing the Forum

The Strategic Doing™ Activity takes up almost half of the time in the forum and is essential in helping people move from their new place of knowledge and willingness to act and channel that energy to action. By having a variety of sub-topics people can choose which group they would like to contribute to thus giving them the opportunity to engage in concerns of importance to them. The report-out can be inspiring as groups share their ideas for action with the larger group. It helps to see that together, different and/or bigger progress can be made. Pre-Forum Activities Include time in the Forum agenda for not only conducting the Strategic Doing™ process but also 3 minutes per group for report-out. Identify someone who has e xperience with Strategic Doing™ to be on your planning committee. A facilitator trained in this process is highly recommended. This person will add the facilitation skills and have access to official Strategic Doing™ materials, including PowerPoints and ha ndouts. The Strategic Doing™ website provides information about upcoming workshops and certifications to become a facilitator or can connect you with a certified individual.

Based on the data you have collected about your issue, identify four to five subtopics. They can be based on subtopics of the issue that will draw at least two to three community capitals sectors for discussion and collaboration. Have table cards with the subtopics printed so the meeting areas are easily found when you transition to this activity. In an online setting, have your breakout groups ready and allow people to join them. A Strategic Doing™ packet for each of the subtopic areas will need to be developed. This will ensure that you will be following the process that moves people toward action. Copies of this packet will need to be made and distributed during the session.

We encourage everyone to receive a copy of this packet and encourage individuals who might act on their own (as well as with the group) to turn in their action plans. That way you, as the forum organizer, can document actions that will be taken. For online forums, convert the pages into a shareable Word or Google Doc format so the packet can be shared while the group is working, notes can be taken, and, ultimately, the completed document can be shared with group members and the planning committee. To capture individual actions, consider using a Qualtrics survey to be completed by each participant. Prepare PowerPoint slides that offer an overview of the process and the questions and allocated time that will be spent on each step in the Strategic Doing™ process you are using. This will be use d by the key Strategic Doing™ facilitator and is a guide for the small groups to know where they should be in the process throughout the activity. To keep group report-outs focused, provide instruction about what information will be shared and the length of time they have for sharing. To keep things moving, distribute no more than three pieces of information in 3-5 minutes or less. A visual reminder of when there is 30 seconds left can reduce the awkwardness of having to interrupt for the sake of moving on.

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