Back and Forward Planning LO3836

Fri, 24 Nov 1995 18:24:06 -0500

Replying to LO3317 --

Robert Rich wrote:

"Both concepts of planning seem a bit too linear and projective to fit the
current turbulent environment within which planning takes place. Both
approaches seem to rely on problem solving techniques, just in different
directions. We are thinking in terms of puzzlesolving, meaning that the
configuation of the actions and strategies change as each new piece
(action) is put into place. This concept gives rise to the idea of active
adaptive planning where ideal futures have been defined but paths to their
realization are continually formative, taking into account the changes in
the field and emergent nature of the organization itself within the

(I'm 500 messages behind - which explains why I'm looking at October

My team has developed an organizational self-assessment, based on the
Baldrige criteria - which can be used in exactly the layered way Robert
describes. We are using it in my office in Seattle as pat of our "Quest"
for learning and understanding. We have done some visioning work, and we
have begun the self-assessment process, during which we will create a more
detailed vision, from which we can identify opportunities based on the
present, and so on . . .

It took a bit of work to get people to break away from planning forward or
backward and moving into a more iterative process. Traditionally, our
agency has planned forward. For the past couple of years we have
"backcasted." While we are in the early stages of this iterative or
simultaneous way of planning, it seems to have an awful lot of potential.

Does anyone else have experience in working like this? I'd be interested
in learning more about some of the opportunities and pitfalls. As we try
to get the self-assessment system spread throught the employment and
training community it will be helpful to be able to provide examples and

Barak Rosenbloom, Troublemaker
US Department of Labor, Seattle
206-553-4543 x8030

"The way enlightenment comes . . . is in bits and pieces of humdrum reality, each adding its mosaic bit of glitter to the eventual vision." - E.L. Doctorow

(wow, the quotation I typed in earlier today fits the message - I think it's a sign)