Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Why is something working? Or not working? Qualitative Comparative Analysis as an evaluation tool provides some useful insights in the combination of factors

How to explain why certain media products (television, radio, printed media, internet, social media) trigger an answer from powerful actors, and why do others not? This was the key question Valérie Pattyn , University Professor at the University of Leiden applied, when she conducted a Qualitative Evaluation for the Hivos Media Program in Kenya and Tanzania. The goal of this program was to increase the accountability of the government and the powerful actors.  The assumption behind the intervention logic was that, if you strengthen investigative journalism, the accountability will be increased. The program intervention was focused at financing critical investigative journalism and providing mentoring programs by coaching and learning by doing to journalists in Kenya and Tanzania.

Valérie Pattyn

 Which factors have an influencing role on the outcomes of the program and which others don’t? Valérie Pattyn applied for her research, the Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA). QCA is a social science research method that applies a systematic comparison to case studies. QCA helps to explore why some interventions were successful in achieving a particular outcome while others were not.  The evaluation was focused at generating qualitative information and not at quantitative information, since the intention was to generate explanations why something worked or not worked.  Valérie’s presentation was held and organized by Rutgers (knowledge centre for sexuality) in partnership with the Learning Community Evaluation of Nedworc.  The meeting was visited by M & E officers from the Strategic Partnership Partners -  Dialogue and Dissent and monitoring & evaluation experts from Nedworc.


Comparing successful versus unsuccessful cases and data collection
The set-up of the evaluation process consisted of 4 steps;
1.       Design of the evaluation;
2.       Data collection;
3.       Data analysis
4.       Interpretation of the findings

In the design stage a number of successful and unsuccessful cases were selected by the multi-disciplinary evaluation team. The condition for selection was to select cases, which had not been influenced by extraordinary contextual factors. So the case studies needed to be comparable, knowing that the conditions in which the media products were applied were similar.  In this case it was decided to do a separate analysis of both the Kenya and the Tanzania case studies, since the political context, educational and media environment in both countries were significant different.  Conditions under QCA means, which media products do generate respons from citizens and under which conditions do media products not generate respons.  With QCA you can investigate (combination of) conditions (factors) which are necessary and/ or sufficient to accomplish desirable outcomes.
This stage was followed by a regional workshop, where during a systematic discussion stakeholders had the opportunity to give constructive input on the conditions that were proposed by the evaluation team. Usually in this stage a shortlist is made between the 3 – 6 conditions, that need to be evaluated. In this stage, it was decided to link conditions to the journalist and the media product.

Conditions linked to the media product

The data collection was done by an extensive survey and some complementary interviews to collect additional narrative information. Some of the interviews were done anonymously since some of the informants  wanted to keep their confidentiality. One part of the data collection was to calibrate the data by coding them between 0 and 1.

Example Salience of a media item

Identifying combination of factors that lead to success
During the data-analysis phase the evaluation team identified the combination of conditions, that were sufficient for the outcome of the project (actor response) and the conditions that were necessary for the actor response.
During this phase specific software was used to transfer all the collected data  in the ‘Truth Table’.  This was done by coding the data from the case studies into a 0 or a 1,  based on the conditions that were calibrated in the data collection phase.

truth table
Paths that both generate success in one case study and failure in another case study, are eliminated in this phase. These are called the the contradictory paths. Finally, based on the processing of the data, the research identified 7 paths of combinations of factors that led to a high response of citizens.

The QCA intervention was finalized with the phase of interpretation of the paths, that led to success. This is the stage were meaning was given to the different paths. It is the stage were interaction with the stakeholders is required to identify and explain the causalities between the different factors that led to success.
For example, in this evaluation it was found that the Journalistic experience (seniority) played  a major role in the ABSENCE of actor response.  This finding generated a lot of questions that needed further discussion and analysis.   Is “Experience not equal to journalistic talent” or do “experienced journalists” feel themselves to mature to be influenced by mentor advice offered by the program’?  So this is the final stage where underlying meaning is generated by discussion, involving the stakeholders. 

Challenges and lessons
Based on the experience gained from this research in Kenya and Tanzania, the team encountered the following challenges and obtained the following lessons;
·         The data collection was a tremendous and a challenging job.  The difference in quality of data,  absence of essential data and the translation of the huge amount of data to summarized data provided the evaluation team a lot of work. The objectivity of data was also a dilemma.  Some factors, such as education level or geographical outreach, were not 100 % objective. Also the heterogeneity of the case studies, made it a challenge to find common criteria for calibration.
·         QCA demands more than a regular evaluation process. It requires a lot of systematic and thorough work.  The method has a danger, that if the evaluation is not well prepared stakeholders will get participation fatigue. Therefore, it is recommended that this evaluation is combined with other methods such a process tracing of typical cases studies. Two weeks, which is the timetable for most external evaluation interventions is too short for conducting the QCA.  The method requires a wider time span and enough financial resources for the implementation, especially for the design and data collection phase.  For this evaluation the time span for completing the research took twelve months.
·         QCA can be applied with a limited number of cases studies, however you still need to select qualifiable cases studies from a medium sized project.  So in this research from the 200 case studies,  60 were selected for further research.
·         QCA is a method which is still under development and in an experimental phase. The number of cases where QCA has been applied are still limited and therefore, best practices are needed to get a better idea where the method can have most benefit and potential.
·         For the donor, the results were still puzzling. What to do with the pattern-findings? More time had to be allocated for the joint-sense making after the analysis.
·         It is difficult to have people to talk about cases that are negative; There were the outcome is absent, it is essential for this method that data is found why something did not work.

Added value and the potential of QCA
Although QCA is a method in development, it has some great potential for further application. The method generates causalities in programs which take place in a complex environment. The method helps to explain why certain combinations of factors work and why they not work. This generates a great potential for learning and evaluation.  The QCA is based on evaluating existing programs by comparing cases, that have been generated by the specific intervention. The method is accessible and transparent. You can consult and download the procedures and software at the website of COMPASSS. .  Another interesting publication you can read is an evaluation about violence against women and girls, where a combination of QCA and process tracing was used. This evaluation implemented by DFID won at the EES Conference the best poster award.  >>>> Read report.  The instructions manual for conducting a QCA is available >>>> Handout QCA.

Simon Koolwijk
Expert participatory video

July, 2016

Monday, June 27, 2016

What initiated change? Participatory videos provide a rich part of the story!

‘Citizens are not afraid anymore to demand for their entitlements! Health service providers do listen better to the demands of their patients. The quality of the health care has significantly improved last year. The treatments have improved, people started to talk positively about the service in the clinic, service providers keep their time schedules, the ambulance service is 24 hours available, hygiene practices have improved and the clinic is clean.’

This is one of the change stories, which was shared by citizens, service providers and government officials who participated in a participatory video intervention facilitated by Redeem The Generation (RTG), a local civil society organization who supports social accountability processes in various municipalities in Ethiopia.  For the whole story consult video:   Behavioral change and service improvements on health care in Matehare, Ethiopia.

Social Accountability

Social Accountability is a process where citizens have the right to hold the service providers accountable for the services they provide and together they explore where service deficiencies need to be improved. It is a structured process where citizens take the opportunity to provide feedback to the service providers. The role of the government is to provide the conditions and part of the additional resources to enable the implementation of the changes. The process is initiated in 223 municipalities in Ethiopia, facilitated by the Ethiopian Social Accountability Program Phase 2 managed and implemented by the Vereniging Nederlandse Gemeenten International (VNG-I) in partnership with 49 grantees and 110  local civil society organizations.  The SA process supports the dialogue between service providers and service users in the domains of 1) Health; 2) Education; 3) Agriculture; 4) Water and Sanitation and 5) Rural Roads.

Participatory video

Th participatory video of RTG was one of the thirty participatory video stories, that were submitted by local civil society organizations, who participate in the Ethiopian Social Accountability Program. Representatives from 35 grantees  were trained between December 2013 and March 2015 in videomaking and facilitating participatory dialogues. Participatory video is part of the monitoring & evaluation & learning strategy of the ESAP2 program. The most appealing videos are used for capacity building and communication purposes to further raise awareness about the concept of social accountability.

Enabling factors for change and  for stakeholder capacity
All 30 participatory video interventions that were conducted between June and September, 2015 showed interesting behavioral changes and service improvements that came about as a result of the SA process. Read more about these behavioral changes and service improvements in a research paper written by a team of experts led by  Pieternella Pieterse;  ESAP2 Research Papers

The process of participatory video making created a feeling of empowerment with the stakeholders.  After watching the videos, most stakeholders felt empowered because they had reached major changes in a short time span.   Especially the feeling of partnership and cooperation was appreciated.  The application of participatory video during the phase of reflection, provided an added value, because during the implementation of the Joint Action Plan stakeholders had not realized how far they had come.  In one community, after watching and discussing the videos, the government decided to expand the social accountability process and to provide additional financial support to other schools in their municipality.  

Monitoring – learning from participatory video
Based on the videos, the CSOs analyzed the factors that had contributed to the behavioral and the service delivery changes these changes.  Some major favorable factors that contributed towards these changes  were;
  • Citizens felt empowered by asking for their entitlements, not feeling afraid anymore;
  • The service providers experienced the push from service users providers as a motivation;
  • The SA process is complementary to governmental reforms in the areas of gender, inclusion of minorities and implementing the 1 to 5 strategy (1 person transfers expertise to 5 others)
  • There has been a positive attitudinal change towards vulnerable groups, women and girls;
  • The government felt more committed to provide additional contributions, when they saw that both service users and providers were showing willingness to contribute and provide resources during the implementation;
  • Users and providers have raised awareness and clarity about each other’s roles, experienced better communication amongst stakeholders and increased their understanding of each other’s feelings and opinions.

The process of analyzing these factors was a learning process for the CSOs as well as the stakeholders in the monitoring phase . It helped to strengthen their belief in SA process implementation and it helped them take a more distant view and reflection from the day to day activities.   The creative process of PV made them enthousiastic, and this supported the capacity building of stakeholders. In addition the PV showed changes created by the SA process, which added more meaning the monitoring process.  A piece of evidence next to reports and other monitoring tools.

Challenges in using participatory video for monitoring
Through the facilitation of the PV process, it was a challenge to identify the hindering factors for change, because people in Ethiopia do not have the habit of expressing negative opinions in front of a camera.  In this context, participatory video is a medium which proved most appropriate for appreciative inquiry questions, especially where social accountability is emerging and can be perceived negatively by service providers. Hindering factors for change such as ‘limited capacity of implementing partners’,  ‘turnover of key people in the process’  and ‘limited cooperation and limited willingness to communicate amongst stakeholders’ are factors, which can more easily be identified by more anonymous monitoring and evaluation methods, such as interviews, focus group discussions and observations without using the camera.

PV  covers various purposes
PV is an empowering tool for learning, monitoring and evaluation, especially in a context where social accountability is still emerging when an appreciative inquiry approach is used.  PV makes issues visible, as it gives people a voice and issues a face. It can provide additional value to discussions, because visualization can make all the difference.  If it is captured, it can not be denied. It can provide insight in the favorable factors for change.  For the identification of hindering factors and challenges more anonymous methods are required, such as more monitoring and evaluation methods without using the camera.  Participatory video adds added value to the process of monitoring and evaluation. It captures life stories of people, it is fun and supports the capacity development and learning process of stakeholders and it is an excellent mean in further disseminating life stories to other platforms for communication purposes.  A participatory video intervention provides a rich part of the puzzle!

Simon Koolwijk
Facilitator and expert participatory video

* For more information about training opportunities in video making and facilitating video storytelling consult  Trainingcourses storytelling by video

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Social Accountability Communication Awards 2015 - Ethiopia

As part of its communication, monitoring and evaluation strategy, the Ethiopian Social Accountability Program Phase 2, organised a participatory video, a most significant change story and social accountability committee hero competition. In each category around 25 organisations each participated. The final award ceremony took place on the 4th November, 2015 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The event gave a platform for the actual social accountability implementers to be awarded. The event was attended by more than 250 participants and representatives from national and international media. Watch the video;  

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Participatory Video Oscar Award 2015 Ethiopia

On the 3rd and 4th November, 2015 the final event for the second Participatory Video Oscar Award was held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Twenty-seven organisations participated in this competition for becoming the best participatory video maker 2015 in the Ethiopian Social Accountability Program. Between May and September, 2015 the Social Accountability Implementing Partners implemented participatory video interventions to initiate dialogues on social accountability. On the 3rd November, 2015 the organizations had an opportunity to exchange experiences with each other. The four best nominated organizations competed for the PV Oscar Award. On the 4th November, 2015 the price winner was awarded. This PV Oscar competition is part of the Ethiopian Social Accountability Program Phase 2. It stimulates dialogue between service users and service providers for improving service delivery in the sectors of education,health, water & sanitation, rural road infrastructure and agriculture. Watch video;

Friday, June 26, 2015

Outcome harvesting – an excellent tool for evaluating projects in complexity!

‘Outcome harvesting is an excellent tool for evaluating projects, that operate in a complex environment and that do not have a pre-defined strategy!’   This was one of the comments from one of the participants, who participated in a workshop conducted by Ricardo Wilson Grau, one of the founding fathers of the Outcome Harvesting method.  The workshop was hosted on the 23rd June, 2015 in The Hague by the Nedworc Association and OXFAM Novib,   participants were Nedworc consultants and MEL-officers of OXFAM Novib.

Outcome harvesting is an evaluation approach, involving all stakeholders in a project,  in a program context where there are no clear relations between cause and effect.  Especially projects that involve lobby and advocacy,  fast changing contexts and unpredictable situations can benefit from the Outcome harvesting approach. In 2013, UNDP selected Outcome Harvesting as one of the 11 major Monitoring and Evaluation innovations. There is a toolkit guide and several case studies on how Outcome Harvesting is applied. Read more at:
Ricardo Wilson - Grau

The method has been developed by Ricardo Wilson Grau and his colleagues. They were inspired by the Outcome Mapping and the Utilization-Focused Evaluation.   Outcomes are defined as  change in behavior, relationships, actions & activities and  policies & practices of a  social actor (individual, groups & communities, institutions, organizations). The Outcome Harvesting method collects evidence on what has changed (who, what, when, where and how). then, working backwards, determines whether and how an intervention has contributed to these changes.  The evaluation focuses on effectiveness, rather than on efficiency, which is done in projects with casual relationships with activities, results and goals. The approach is composed of 6 steps;

Step 1, Design the harvest;  determines the set-up of the evaluation, the data collection methods and the evaluation questions that will be asked;
Step 2,  Focuses on review of the documentation and evidence collected.  In this phase the most important Outcome is defined and the most crucial activity or event that contributed to this outcome is determined.
In step 3, Engage with informants more detailed questions are asked from the stakeholders in the project (see in the diagram above)  in knowing more details about the outcome and the contribution.  This can be done in a  face-2-face workshop setting with  the help of a facilitator having all the stakeholders involved. However, it can also be done by e-mail posing the questions to each of the stakeholders. This is also the phase where significance will be given to the outcome by the informants.
Step 4; Substantiate.  This is the phase were external stakeholders, who have not been involved in the project but who are authorities in domains of the project, are consulted. They comment and give input on the data and evidence, that has been collected in step 2 and step 3.
Step 5, Analyse, interpret and step 6, support use of findings complete the Outcome Harvesting Cycle.  This is phase where lessons, conclusions and recommendations are drawn. This is where the learning amongst the stakeholders take place and where recommendations for improvement can be formulated.

During the workshop conducted by Ricardo Wilson Grau, the group worked on a case study of a funding agency, promoting the advancement of women’s rights.  We noticed that often specific information (What,  when, where and how?) is lacking and you need to ‘dig deeper’ to complete the information.
Outcome Harvesting is characterized by the following strengths:
§ Corrects the common failure to search for unintended results.
§ Has verifiable harvested outcomes.
§ Uses a logical, accessible approach that makes it easy to engage informants.
§ Employs various means to collect data: face-to-face interviews or workshops, communication across distances (surveys, telephone, or email), and written documentation.
§ Ties the level of detail provided in the descriptions directly to the questions defined at the outset of the process; these descriptions may be as brief as a single sentence or as detailed as page or more of text, and may or may not include explanations of other variables.
Because of its nature, Outcome Harvesting also has certain limitations and challenges:
§ Skill and time are required to identify and formulate high-quality outcome descriptions.
From: Outcome Harvesting, Ricardo Wilson-Grau and Heather Britt (2012, revised 2013) link

Outcome Harvesting in practice – the GPPAC case
In the second half of the workshop, Paul Kosterink working with The Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict (GPPAC), explained on how Outcome Harvesting is applied for projects in their organisation.  They got assistance and advice from Ricardo Wilson Grau in building their Outcome Harvesting design.  GPPAC  is a member-led network of civil society organisations (CSOs) active in the field of conflict prevention and peacebuilding across the world, .  GPPAC is active in a number of coalitions and networks in preventing armed conflict. Most of their work is focused on lobbying and advocacy through the networks.  ‘The context in which we work is very complex’ explains Paul Kosterink.
Paul Kosterink

When we ask our partners to report, they have difficulty in specifying and writing down their results. Therefore, we ask our partners concrete questions on what changed and on what they achieved,  explains Paul Kosterink.    In  the environment we work, it is difficult to reach big results within a short time. Therefore,  we ask our partners to come up with simple and low-key outcomes, which can signify that things are changing.  For example a letter from a Ministry of Defense giving compliments for our work specifying on how we prevent conflict, can already be a significant Outcome, says Paul Kosterink.
Lessons learned
Participants expressed that the workshop was useful and helpful.  Some of the participants quoted;

·      If we would have linked Outcome Harvesting to our reporting system, it would have produced much better reports;
·         The method is appealing. I am motivated to do more study on how the method works, before I start applying it;
·         I will propose the Outcome Harvesting (OH) method as a tool for a developmental  evaluation for a proposal, that I am developing;
·         The Outcome Harvesting is an excellent method for projects operating in a complex environment, that do not have a pre-defined strategy;
·         Outcome Harvesting will save you a lot of resources in time, people and money. The evaluator does not need to collect all the outcomes, but can start working from the evidence that is collected in the reports;
·         Outcome Harvesting enables to ask more detailed and interesting questions for doing an evaluation.
·         Outcome Harvesting is not easy, but it is very interesting!

Simon Koolwijk and Erica Wortel
June, 2015

Monday, May 11, 2015

Participatory video stories vizualizing the progress on education, Ethiopia

This video shows on how stories are visualized through participatory video stories in one week. From story board development to filming, to editing and then finally presenting and discussing the videos at a community dialogue meeting participants from social accountability partners learn to apply participatory video for dialogue with the community in discussing the progress on educational service delivery in Shashemene, Ethiopia. The training took place from 23 – 27 March, 2015 in Hawassa and Shashemene, Ethiopia. The participants inteviewed and involved 6 stakeholder groups in the discussion on the progress of educational services in Shashemene, Ethiopia. Both user groups, students, and service providers, teachers were involved in this participatory process. As experiment, also control groups from both students and teachers were involved in the PV process. The control groups came from schools, who did not participate in the social accountability process. The training was implemented by a team of participatory video trainers coming from Ethiopia and The Netherlands. Between April and July, 2015 the participants will apply the participatory video in their own workplace and social accountability projects involving their communties. The participatory video training and program is part of the Ethiopian Social Accountability Program Phase 2.

Advanced Training Participatory Video, Ethiopia, March 2015

From 18th – 20th March, 2015 twenty participatory video facilitators and practitioners attended a three day advanced training in participatory video. The twenty pv facilitators are representing 10 social accountability implementing partners (SAIPs), that are involved in implementing social accountability processes in the sectors of health, education, agriculture, water & sanitation and rural roads in the whole country of Ethiopia. The pv facilitators conducted pv interventions between October 2014 and February, 2015. This training gave them the opportunity to share their experiences and update their knowledge on participatory video, to learn to work with advanced software in video editing and to learn how to use the participatory videos for monitoring and evaluation and to discuss the opportunities and challenges on how to sustain participatory video in their organisation. Between May and July 2015, these SAIPs will continue to implement new participatory video interventions and are planning to participate in a new PV Oscar Reward Competition for the Ethiopian Social Accountability Program Phase 2. Watch video; 

Friday, March 13, 2015

Seven critical factors for a successful Participatory Strategic Planning (PSP)

In early 2015 I conducted a Participatory Strategic Planning for a consultancy business. For this I applied the Participatory Strategic Planning (PSP)  approach, which has been developed by the Institute of Cultural Affairs
The Strategic Planning consists of six key steps,
0. Intake formulation of the focus question
1.  Formulation / Review  Mission, values/ Trend analysis and environmental scan;
2.  Practical Vision;
3.  Underlying contradictions;
4.  Strategic Directions;
5.  Operational planning.

The method

Step 0: Intake and formulating the focus question
Before step 1 takes place in the strategic planning process, an essential step is necessary, to move forward.  This is the intake and the formulation of the focus question.
The ownership of the organizational change starts at the intake. Asking the right questions and getting the right people at the table are crucial conditions for enabling a successful strategic planning.  The focus question is the starting point of the  participatory strategic planning, through which the progress of the planning is monitored. This question is a perfect guide in monitoring the development of the client’s and group’s ownership during the planning process.

Step 1: Values, Identity, Mission, Trendanalysis and Environmental scan
Shared values ​​and identity build the foundation, why people commit themselves to a group or organization. Increasingly, identity and values are the pillars for an organizational strategic plan.  They are part of the mission statement, that explicity answers the question ‘Why are we as organisation on earth?’
The trendanalysis is a tool that analyzes the development  taking place in the context, which are influencing the organization. During the environmental scan opportunities and threats are mapped in a systematic manner. Both tools will help to answer the question if the existing organizational mission is still relevant or need to be modified.

Step 2: Practical Vision
This phase builds on the dreams and the positive energy of the group. In an associative way, the participants create a new perspective of the future of the organization or group. At the end, participants have defined a vision for a defined period of time.

Step 3: Underlying obstacles
Before participants reflect on the  strategic priorities for the future, they look at the underlying obstacles that hinder them in achieving their future goals. During this session, a self-reflective process is facilitated in researching the current situation why the organization is not realizing their future dreams. This phase helps to take a step back and observe from a distance and have a fresh watch at the current reality.  This is a crucial phase were the transformation is taking place.  Participants can not blame others, but are guided in a thorough process of self reflection.

Step 4: Strategic Directions
Once the blocks have been mapped, the group starts with the formulation of the strategic priorities. This phase helps the group to formulate a new strategic focus that will deal with the opportunities and the threats.  The challenge is to provide a new perspective on the current situation. In this session participants will be challenged to develop new products & services, identify new markets and new modes of working. 

Step 5: Operational planning
Based on the selected strategies, the group defines a one-year plan including milestones and a three months operational plan. During this phase tasks and responsibilities will be divided. Commitments will be made on the implementation and monitoring the progress of this plan.  It is crucial in this stage that the conditions and available resources in time and money are communicated to enable the implementation of the operational plan.

Critical factors for Success
There are 7 critical factors, which determine if a Participatory Strategic Planning will become a success.

1. The Intake, ensuring commitment from the leadership
The intake is a crucial phase in the PSP. From the beginning to the end the senior management has to take ownership of the process. During the whole process of planning up to implementation the senior management has to lead and to monitor the development of the focus question and the implementation of the plan. Will the key question be answered?  If the leadership does not take their full responsibility the process is doomed to fail.

2. Quality of participants
The quality of participants will determine the outcome and successful implementation of the plan. Not only senior management should be involved, but also staff from all levels in the organization. Diversity ,  knowledge and views from different perspectives to bring in as much viewpoints as possible. An adequate selection of participants is needed for a successful outcome of the participatory strategic planning.

3. Quality of facilitation
The quality and experience of the facilitator will be of crucial importance in helping the group to explore new territory. The facilitator not only needs to know about attractive and innovative facilitation methods, but also is required to know how to deal with group dynamics,  emotions of fear and anger and moments of unexpected resistance. Resistance and conflict are valuable moments for facilitating change.

4. Conditions for implementing the strategic plan should be clear
The conditions for implementing the change and the strategic plan should be clear from the beginning. Staff from the organization should know from the beginning how much time, resources and support from the senior management is available for implementing the strategic plan. The commitment and seriousness from the management should be clear and therefore, they need to communicate these conditions clearly during the participatory strategic planning event.  Especially time for doing for example training, skills development or innovation should be allocated by the senior management. If staff do not get the extra time and the resources to implement changes, a successful implementation is doomed to fail.

5. Follow-up
Plans get adjusted all the time.  Most strategic plans get adjusted during the implementation due to unforeseen changes in the contextual environment, changes in the organizaiton or change of staff.  Mostly a plan is implemented successful in case an organization is able to adjust the path during the journey. A good plan is more than half of the work, but a successful strategy can only be implemented if the organization is able to deal with the challenges it meets on the road. Therefore,  regular follow-up     (at least (bi) monthly) is needed ensure a successful implementation. 

6. Documentation is done by the organization
It is not the facilitator who is doing the documentation of the participatory strategic plan, but it is required that the organization is documenting and writing the strategic plan themselves. If real commitment comes from the senior management, it is up to them to write, document and disseminate the strategic plan. In most cases when the strategic plan is written by the facilitator, it becomes a paper tiger and ends in a desk drawer. So, it is important during the intake and preparation of the participatory strategic planning to make the client responsible for the documentation and dissemination of the strategic plan.

7. Keep the momentum and ensure that implementation continues straight after the participatory strategic planning event
Due to the participatory process many participatory strategic planning events gain a lot of enthousiasm, joy and energy with the group. Therefore, it is important that the momentum is continued after the strategic planning event.  The participants should become the owners of the implementation process and the senior management must have the courage to trust, to facilitate and delegate parts of the implementation to the staff. Every moment of delay in the process, will take away the energy and the momentum with the staff in the organization. So the energy and the momentum should be continued. Therefore it is important that the working groups, that are created at the end of the participatory strategic planning have formulated challenging milestones for the quarters to come.  If they have the opportunity to celebrate a victory within considerable time, the energy can be maintained and continued.

A book I can really recommend and is worthwhile reading, is the book ‘TransformationalStrategy’ written by Bill Staples. It describes the process of participatory strategic planning in detail, it puts the method in today’s context and it gives some helpful and useful tips and tools on how to facilitate it effectively. The book contains some valuable case studies from the profit and non-profit sector and it provides some checklist on how you prepare a successful participatory strategic planning.   See>>>  TransformationalStrategy’ written by Bill Staples.  The Participatory Strategic is part of the Technology of Participation methods (TOP).