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About the course
This Creative Strategic Thinking course is for anyone involved in developing or implementing strategy.
It will explore what you can do to ensure that your most useful thoughts are translated into practical plans and effective behaviours.
From thinking creatively around vision, to stages of planning and finally communicating the vision to others, we'll support you through the steps of effective strategic planning to achieve grounded and measurable outcomes.
We want everyone to leave us with practical, concrete and usable plans that can be implemented with confidence and gusto!
- To introduce the concept of creative strategic thinking
- The effect of external and internal changes on strategy
- Step-by-step approach to creative strategy
- Drawing on familiar models
- Practical tools and techniques along the way
- To identify clear goals
- To provide a clear rationale for future strategy
- Creating buy-in with peers
- Motivating others to contribute to the process
- To practice selling
- To reflect upon risk assessment
- Pre-emptive options and contingency plans
- Commitment to their most useful next steps
Creative Strategic Thinking Course Programme
We tailor all our courses to reflect the needs of the delegates on the day. The course content may include many of the exercises listed below, and any additional material that the trainers feel is relevant.
The day starts with a discussion on what a strategy is and a look at why it's a good idea to have one! Taking things a step further, we look at ways to successfully optimise or unconsciously undermine the best laid plans.
Creative Strategic Thinking?
So where does the creativity bit come in? What's the difference between thinking strategically and creative strategic thinking? Without creativity, strategic thinking may translate into plans built form a series of predictable building blocks. Tried and tested ones can be synonymous with tired and tested ones.
Naturally professional experience and savvy counts for a great deal in planning and business strategy ironically those same strengths can also be weaknesses. Our first solutions may very well be based upon sound logic, previous experience or else upon empirical or selective evidence. Maybe there is also an argument that says such solutions may not always be out best- rather, they just come easy or feel safest because they follow pre-existing models or patterns.
Here we invite you to explore not only what your personal professional patterns might be, but also properly identify where they best serve you.
In terms of thinking creatively, we will help you to acknowledge where you already flex your creative muscles and how. Really understanding where your instincts and habits have led you in the past means that you can check yourself in the future. Being consciously aware of how your natural style of thinking can be further developed is vital to remaining fresh and attentive to future possibilities.
The Classic Storyline
We will introduce our memorable strategic model, supported by colourful visual aids. The model deliberately borrows from traditional narratives and will feel very familiar to those of us hooked on stories, whether of the printed or celluloid variety. But whether you like stories or not, its accessible and straightforward and aimed to help you remember beyond our training days how to approach your most effective strategic plans and decisions.
Over this course we will be exploring some of your real personal and professional case studies, applying the model to your organisation or maybe even your life!
Understanding the Now - Who (or what) is the baddie?
What's going on? In order to begin to plan how to strategically move towards the future it's useful to understand what is going on internally and the impact of external trends and influences. Well move beyond the old faithful, SWOTs or PESTLES to challenge everyone to furnish the facts - identifying the juiciest, the scariest, the most enticing or the most inspiring to flesh out and justify their future potential actions.
Thinking Creatively about the Future
Often the biggest block to defining a vision for the future is being caught up in the Now. Reality checks firmly aside, this is where we invite you to break your thinking habits and take the lid off your creativity to imagine the ideal a bigger, better and brighter future.
To really s-t-r-e-t-c-h their future vision to utopian proportions, we indulge ourselves to imagine what it would look and feel like to those who work and would benefit from this ideal.
Identifying the Key Goal or Goals What needs to happen?
Resisting the kneejerk, a further challenge is presented as we bring an element of competition to the proceedings well start the clock as we go back to reality to examine what else may be currently going on. This is another creative process which we won't spill the beans on for now but it will help you to clarify your key goals and why you may want, or indeed need, to achieve them.
Prospects and Possibilities to Promising Probabilities
So we now know where we are heading and why, as well as being very clear about where we are starting from. To get off the starting blocks we need some innovative ideas to consider how to get close to the ideal future.
In a fantasy world (our bespoke training studios) where everything is possible, fantasy solutions are invited. Again, beyond first methods, what else could secure the vision? From the sublime to the ridiculous, what could enable the company to get there?
Here we free you up, entice you to defy your first solutions and be your most inventive and productive.
Decisions, Decisions , Decisions
So you now have lots of fresh ideas and possibilities, how to decide what next?
We offer some straightforward ways of making decisions and assessing risks so that you are able to make informed decisions and can reassure others of your professional integrity.
Plotting, Planning and Practicalities
There are many ways of going about drawing up a plan. In this exercise delegates will share useful ways they already know and we will throw a few of our own into the pot to help make your ideal a reality
Safety Measures and Quality Assurance
Just to make sure that the future is challenging enough we invite you to consider how you would measure your future success, as well as consider the milestones along the way.
Making the Case
So you have your plan and you have considered contingencies how are you going to sell it to those who need to buy in to it?
We will have more fun here supporting you to shape and present your strongest case for change, revisiting some of the evidence you will already have collated. Not only that but the whole group will offer each person feedback as to which argument they found most convincing and why.
The Usual Suspects
Sometimes, or should that read very often, there may obstacles along the way sometimes these are people shaped.
We offer everyone an experience here. What's it like to be confronted by obstacles or else to be unclear about where we are and where we are supposedly being led.
We will share a range of facilitation techniques for dealing with those people who might otherwise stall or scupper things for example, those who always seem to find reasons why new ideas or plans are to be resisted. Part of this section might include looking at how risk is perceived and how we might best manage risk and other people's feelings around it.
We give you lots of choices and options to get beyond 'we can't do that because...'.
Motivating and Moving Forward Together
Surely one of the biggest problems for realising carefully planned business strategy can be that others don't actively share your passion and enthusiasm for the 'doing' bit. Perhaps they have even expressed agreement but the reality is it was mere lip service.
We will practice some ways to help make sure things happen and that everyone feels motivated to pull together and to keep on doing so.
Careful and Clever Contingencies
Strategic thinkers will anticipate sods law that despite your best laid plans things can go wrong, things may go pear-shaped.
Anticipating the worst is useful in terms of promoting your chances of success may sound like a contradiction in terms, but here we consider everything that could get in the way of your next creative strategy. As well as thinking about what pre-emptive strategies and what contingencies we may want to have in place, we will lay down our final challenge to try to cover all bases.
Inviting solutions from those whose style is different to your own, you can also cross- check your own creative stretchiness key to informing your next developmental steps as a Creative Strategist.
Depending on time and energy, colleagues may want to start to write up their strategic plans or else to share any outstanding worries or concerns.
All our work will be supported by useful tips and aide memoires to help you in the real world. Our intention and passion is that our days together will support your confidence and enthusiasm and support the launch of your next real life strategic plans ones which will have been carefully crafted, supported and rehearsed over our time together.
Delegates have the opportunity to take home hand-outs used during the course
They also have access to a course web page containing
- Handouts used during the course
- New supportive material
- Impact Factory PDF documents
- Recommended reading
- Links to our favourite videos
Trust the experts
Janet - MSc Occupational and Organisational Psychology- is a development professional specialising in behaviour and communication skills for all levels. Working in groups or in 1:1 coaching, her approach is to raise awareness of thinking & behaviour patterns and their impact; identify and man...
Nick Clark Windo
Nick works at the intersection of communication, creativity and business. As a Senior Consultant at Impact Factory, Nick has worked with all manner of clients, ranging from financial organisations like ING, Schroders and Permal, to creative companies such as DigitasLBi and Bossa Studios. He has...
Ottillie is another multinational trainer who knows how to bridge the transatlantic gap. Born to British parents who raised her in Canada, she brings an eclectic worldview to all her work. Not only that, she combines a diverse arts background with extensive business nous. Ottillie has an insatia...
Creative Strategic Thinking Course