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Adaptive Strategic Planning

If your organization or collaborative initiative is looking to make sure your path forward is clear, will make an impact, and at the same time be adaptive, Wellstone Collaborative Strategies can help. At the end of our strategic planning process, the organization or collaborative initiative will be re-engaged and structured to meaningfully impact priority outcomes. 


In order to help our clients make progress on issues ranging from a stakeholder engagement plan to solving deeply challenging environmental or social problems, we use a wide array of strategic planning designs. We bring the right tools to the problem depending on what is most needed. Our toolkit includes adaptive strategic plans, scenario planning, theories of change, systems mapping, and may others. We work with clients to choose approaches that will best meet their needs.


Unfortunately too many strategic plans sound great in theory, but sit on the shelf waiting to be dusted off again in another three to five years. Strategic plan implementation often fails for one of the following reasons: 

  1. Planning is done for the average situation, and not focused on where the greatest needs and gaps are. 

  2. The organization or collaborative initiative isn't structured to propel the new strategic direction forward.

  3. The strategic plan wasn't designed to meet the organization or collaborative initiative's needs. It may not be structured to adapt to changing conditions and needs, or is just was the wrong type of plan for the problem at hand. 


At Wellstone, we listen to our clients to ensure that the planning process is best designed to meet their needs. In general, most strategic planning efforts involve several of the following components:  

  • Defining the problem or vision

  • Codifying values

  • Making sense of the problem by understanding the system, major drivers, needs, and gaps

  • Designing a strategic conceptual framework

  • Ensuring the organizational structure is designed to best support implementation

  • Prioritizing and focusing efforts to accomplish key goals

  • Supporting and learning from adaptive implementation

  • Building sustainability or scale

  • Determining change management strategies

  • Embracing and overcoming client and stakeholder angst associated with long-held concerns or defining a new direction


We typically use a combination of research and stakeholder discussions to inform the strategic planning process. Research may include secondary source review and synthesis of available documents and research or research and analysis of a problem. Stakeholder discussions could include stakeholder research, a retreat, or several targeted planning sessions with stakeholders. 

"Jacob was ... a critical thinker and brilliant strategic planner"
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