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Outcome Mapping Practitioner Guide

Developing a joint vision in a group

How to develop in a reasonable short time a vision that is supported by (almost) all participants of a planning event

Author: Corinne Sprecher

Published: Thursday 14 August 2014

To start a planning workshop with the discussion about the common vision develops a very nice energy in the workshop room and opens up the mind of all participants. The vision concerns all three groups of stakeholders (expressed in the OM-way): The beneficiaries, the boundary partners and the project team.

After an introduction into the whole planning procedure, the familiarization of participants among each other and the clarification of expectations for the workshop, I feel it is the right moment to discuss about a common vision. I usually follow five standard steps:

  1. Participants are split into groups of about five participants per group, making sure people who have never collaborated so far (but will be cooperating in future) are brought to work together. The key task is to develop a common vision that describes the “dream-situation” in about 20 years. One to three sentences, not more. After half an hour, every group presents its vision (visualized on a chart) and takes note of the other groups’ proposals.
  2. During the following step, in which we start discussing the mission of the project, one (mixed) group is invited to further work on the vision (instead of the mission). In a first round they check in each and every proposal what key-words they feel good about (key-words that should re-appear in a final wording). The participants underline the selected key words on all the charts.
  3. Based on step 2, the group formulates an alternative vision that includes all positive elements and writes it again on a chart. The revised vision is presented to all participants.
  4. The planning workshop continues with further steps. During the breaks all participants are invited to comment on the revised vision and to suggest alternatives.
  5. Towards the end of the planning workshop again a group is given the task to integrate the comments in a further or final version of the vision. It is interesting to see, how the further planning steps (mainly the mission of the project and the outcome challenges of the different boundary partners) influence the common vision and vice versa.

At the end of the planning workshop the final version of the vision is formally agreed upon by all participants. A common vision (if really felt as the common vision) has a high power in orienting a project team and related partners.

The strength of this procedure is the iterative way in which the vision is elaborated over the whole workshop period. Emphasis is given to the vision and it is reconsidered by the participants in different moments during the work process. This way, the participants develop a strong ownership for their vision.


This nugget was applied in: ISCB India

Related Practitioner Guide sections:

Latin America & Carribean Sub-Saharan Africa North Africa & Middle East South Asia South East Asia & Pacific Far-East Asia Eastern Europe & CIS (ex USSR) Western Europe North America & Canada Australasia