Becoming a Strategic Doing Affiliate

Strategic Doing affiliate institutions are universities that are actively involved in:

  • leading Strategic Doing work within their own organization;
  • providing Strategic Doing workshops for other entities that request assistance using this valuable approach to getting work done;
  • training others that want to learn to lead Strategic Doing engagements.

Affiliates are the only entities able to certify new Strategic Doing workshop leaders, and can offer workshops leading to certification in their region. They will also be listed as resources on the Strategic Doing Institute website (that’s this one!) for anyone looking for help using Strategic Doing.

Becoming an affiliate is more of a journey than an event, and so this page describes the path your institution might take to becoming an affiliate. While few affiliates will follow this precise trajectory, it’s meant to give a sense of the kinds of activities that would be involved. The pace is up to you – some may want to “fast track” to affiliate status, others may want to dip their toes in the water and let the process unfold more gradually.

Attend a Strategic Doing 301: Leading Complex Collaborations workshop. This is the 2.5 day workshop through which participants can become certified workshop leaders, when completed along with an accompanying “practicum.” You’ll eventually need to have at least three certified Strategic Doing “faculty,” which is an additional step – but this workshop will get you started. Having more than one person attend this training will accelerate the process. Workshops are scheduled several times throughout the year, or you can invite the Purdue Agile Strategy Lab to hold a workshop in your region (a minimum of 10 participants is usually needed to hold a workshop at your location).

Assemble your “core team.” A core team will have at least 3 members, although 5-7 is ideal. The core team is committed to the goal of deploying Strategic Doing in the organization and region, but not all core team members need to be trained workshop leaders. Consider having at least two kinds of members: those that can do the day-to-day work to accomplish the team’s goals, and those at a high level in the organization who can get any barriers out of the way. All members should be able to commit to meeting at least monthly, although the meetings do not need to be lengthy once the work gets going.

Let us know of your intention to become an affiliate. This can happen at any time, but if we know your organization would like to be an affiliate, we can be more helpful to you in making sure you have the resources you need along the way and know about opportunities we think you might find useful.

Host a Strategic Doing “event” to get more people engaged and excited. This can take many forms, but a typical event might be a one-day session, in which the morning is spent introducing Strategic Doing to a broad group of constituents using the Strategic Doing Game or another interactive tool, and an afternoon work session in which a somewhat smaller group is guided in using Strategic Doing to address a particular challenge. We can help identify a certified workshop leader or a Strategic Doing faculty to help with this event, and it also provides those that have attended the Strategic Doing 301 training a chance to practice their new skills (and can help fulfill the practicum requirements).

Find opportunities to use Strategic Doing within and outside your organization and build your skills in using the discipline. Your core team should take the lead on identifying those opportunities and building an accompanying action plan (we suggest using Strategic Doing itself for this process). Take advantage of the free coaching built into the workshop leader certification process to enhance your skills. As your involvement grows, your core team may need to grow so that there are enough members to guide the process in different settings.

Build capacity by getting as many people as possible certified as workshop leaders. Think about cultivating potential workshop leaders that could work in different settings, depending on your context: regional economic or community development, higher education, K-12 education, corporate or government work, etc. Make sure those that have attended the Strategic Doing 301 training finish up the practicum requirements – they’re designed to be high-value activities that become part of the leader’s ongoing use of Strategic Doing.

Get involved in the larger Strategic Doing community. Connect with those you met at a workshop, find ways to meet other Strategic Doers when you’re traveling, take advantage of social media channels to grow relationships, and come to the annual Strategic Doing conference.

Practice, practice, practice. A primary requirement for affiliates is that they have three certified Strategic Doing faculty. Faculty members are experienced in using the Strategic Doing discipline over a period of time in a variety of settings. They’ve developed strategies for overcoming common obstacles, found their own style for presenting the material, and learned how to adapt their presentation to different audiences.

If you haven’t already, hold a Strategic Doing 301 training in your community/region. Co-lead the workshop with a Strategic Doing faculty member (we can help identify someone who might be able to help), so the faculty member can get a sense of whether your workshop leaders are ready to take the next steps to become faculty themselves.

Apply to become an affiliate. You’ll need at least two experienced certified workshop leaders to apply, and should be well on the way to having three certified Strategic Doing faculty members (only one of the faculty needs to be an employee of your organization; any Strategic Doing faculty member can choose to work with you and be part of the affiliate structure). Review the memorandum of partnership for affiliates, which includes a description of the roles, rights, and responsibilities of being an affiliate. While the official paperwork documents the process, more important will be a follow-up conversation that one or more members of the Strategic Doing Core Team (we have a core team too!) have with you about your plans and readiness. We may approve your application in short order, or we may have recommendations for more experience we think is needed before you become a formal affiliate.

Still have questions? Contact Liz Nilsen at