We are working with the Purdue leadership to design and guide a set of strategies to support the explosive growth of our undergraduate student body. Today one of the work teams developed success characteristic and metrics for six different strategic opportunities and they did it in 90 minutes. Strategic Doing is fast and lightweight. A welcome alternative to longer more costly approaches to strategy.
Our colleagues in Rockford used Strategic Doing to design this innovative initiative to fill the aerospace talent pipeline. The Rockford paper ran a great article on their work. Read more here.
Rockford, Illinois is a global center of excellence in advanced manufacturing, particularly in aerospace. This critical sector of the economy is threatened by a looming shortage of engineering talent. In collaboration with industry partners and the local community college, Northern Illinois University (NIU) created a community-based, industry-integrated workforce developent solution to address the demand for engineers. Rockford area students can now earn bachelor’s degrees in mechanical engineering and applied manufacturing technology without traveling to NIU’s main campus in DeKalb. Third and fourth year NIU courses are taught by NIU professors on the Rock Valley [Community] College (RVC) campus. Students have paid internships with area companies and are mentored by local NIU and RVC alumni.
Liz Nilsen and Ubaldo Cordova collaborated to create a powerful learning experience over the last week in Puerto Rico. Liz started by assembling a six-member Strategic Doing faculty team. The team included Rena Cotsones and Marco Lenis from Northern Illinois University; Janet Holsten from the University of North Carolina; Michon Hicks from the Department of Employment Services in the District of Columbia. Ed Morrison and Liz from Purdue rounded out the team.
For his first steps, Ubaldo lined up the support of the Puerto Rico Science Technology and Research Trust. He also recruited about 40 professionals to take the 2 1/2 day training. From April 5-7, these professionals went through our Strategic Doing 301 training. As a concluding exercise in our training, we jointly designed a one day workshop for about 70 civic leaders from across the island.
Then, a subset of our graduates served as table guides for the workshop on Monday, April 9. We designed the workshop around six strategic focus areas: economic development, community development, innovation, entrepreneurship, education and recovery. In a six-hour session that stretched from 9 AM to 3 PM, the civic leaders designed
seven nine complex collaborations, each with their own Strategic Action Plan. We will continue to work with our team in Puerto Rico to support their new collaborations as they spread the discipline and skills of Strategic Doing.
The Purdue Agile Strategy Lab is heading back to The Netherlands. We are working with our Dutch partner, Human Insight, on a workshop to develop an innovation and entrepreneurial ecosystem in agribusiness and food in The Netherlands. We are working with the Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality and the food accelerator, FoodStars, to organize this workshop. The ministry is inviting a full range of potential actors in this new ecosystem: entrepreneurs, small and midsize enterprises, large companies, research institutes, knowledge hubs, investors, and government agencies. The session is scheduled for April 27, when we are in The Netherlands.
The design challenge for the session begins with the “framing question”. We view this step as critical to setting the boundaries of a complex system. We’ve presented several alternatives.
- Imagine that we have a vibrant innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem in agri-food that attracts worldwide attention. What would that look like?
- How could we collaborate to create an agri-business ecosystem that accelerates innovation with start-up and innovating companies?
- The Netherlands has a number of exciting agri-food initiatives underway. Through stronger collaborations, could we create a more vibrant entrepreneurial and innovation ecosystem? What would that look like?
- Imagine a more vibrant agri-business ecosystem in the The Netherlands look like? What would that look like? How could we speed resources to both start ups and innovating companies?
We will circle back as the planning for this session takes shape
A frequent question we get is about marketing workshops: how do you get people to that very first conversation? One of the tangible benefits of being part of the Strategic Doing network is learning how others are using the discipline and using that information to sharpen your own practice. (Almost) everything I’ve learned about Strategic Doing I’ve learned from fellow practitioners – like the discipline itself, learning is an iterative, experimental process.
And here’s “Exhibit A”:
This morning’s inbox brought a great reminder of the power of the Strategic Doing community.
In January I shared a video from Granite City (Illinois)’s James Amos, inviting his community to a Strategic Doing workshop. The video is simple, but it gets the message across and James’ enthusiasm shines through; more than 100 people attended the workshop. I shared the video with our next Strategic Doing 301: Leading Complex Collaborations training, at Howard University in March as a strategy for marketing their workshops. One of the participants, Sandy Mehalko, has taken James’ approach and turbo-charged it for a Maryland initiative called Frostburg Forward, with several community leaders participating in the video to invite their peers to a workshop. Sandy says: “We sent it to 60 people, and 30 have RSVP’d in the first two days.”
Take a look at the Frostburg video:
Our trainings include plenty of good ideas about every phase of the Strategic Doing cycle, including but not limited to marketing workshops. Most of those ideas come from the community. Want to be in the front row for the next great ideas about Strategic Doing? Or have you already attended, but have colleagues that are struggling with how to lead healthy, effective collaborative efforts? We have two trainings coming up quickly: one in Montana (August 14-16) and another in New Mexico (August 16-18). Come join us!