“Information’s pretty thin stuff unless mixed with experience.”
There are two key principles for achieving measurable community results:
- Start with the end in mind, then work backwards to the means that will achieve this.
- Make decisions on the basis of transparent data.
Your Action Team needs to gather data and information to identify where you are now and create the Plan to achieve your desired change.
Examples of data you will benefit from gathering:
- Key partners’ plans: What are key partner, competitors or government “ends” (goals, outcomes) and how will they fit in with this project? What programmes might help or hinder your project? How defensive or supportive will key people or partners be about this project?
- Other initiatives of interest in the region: What is already being done? What can you learn from others experiences (and can you form new partnerships)?
- Key measurement data: What available data could be relevant to your project and how could it be utilised to further your Plan and Case for Change? (A good regional site in Australia is http://insight.regionalaustralia.org.au/ where your local government area is rated in terms of its regional competitiveness; for example, technological readiness, infrastructure and essential services. This data exists in most countries.)
- Ideas from the community: You may have asked target audiences for ideas on how to fix the problem or use the opportunity.
- Sources of funding, resources or other assistance. What support and resources are currently available online, from government or within your own community? (See some useful sites for finding funds and resources here.)
By nature, we humans are good at looking for what is wrong, not strong, in a community. So why not turn this situation upside down and look for available community assets that you can utilise in your project. These might include:
- Infrastructure: buildings, transport, communications etc.
- Organisations: community groups, businesses, not-for-profits, federal / state / local government.
- People with skills: specialist skills in areas like project management, organising, marketing, events, finances.
- Cultural assets: museums, events, festivals, art groups, local success stories etc.
- Read the partners’ plans, the information of other initiatives and the available data.
- Look for the Key Issues and relevant measurements likely to affect your project.
- Document the Key Issues within your CLIP One Page Plan.
- Consider what Community Assets and Strengths can be built upon in addressing your Problem or Opportunity. Write these up in your CLIP One Page Plan.