Real Employee Input LO7615

Walter Derzko (
Sun, 26 May 1996 09:35:05 -0400

Subject: Real Employee input into Strategic Planning & Visions
[Subject line shortened by your host...]

Most companies only talk about employee input into strategic planning and
vision statements. Has anyone had any experience in coupling lateral
thinking to strategic planning ? I interested in process glitches and

Next month I'm working with a client in the consumer products
/pharmaceutical industry here in Canada to help stage a one-day strategic
planning /visioning session for all 360 employees and management from this
one plant.

After a pep talk from the president and my brief introduction to lateral
thinking, the one large group of 360 will split into 4 groups of 80 and
rotate throughout the day into 4 workshops.

In my talk on lateral thinking, I'll suggest several provocations that
participants could consider throughout the day...likely demographic
changes, exciting technologies now in the R & D pipeline", and offer some
new metaphors for likely shifts in Org structures and management theory
that we might see in the next decade.

The objective of the day is to invite all employees into the excitement of
generating ideas to help fuel corporate growth and to ensure continued
competitiveness. We are less interested in marginal, incremental
improvements along the same lines of thinking. We want participants to
discover and suggest breakthrough ideas and new lateral concepts by
challenging all underlying assumptions about today's environment.

The 4 workshops are: The Consumer of Tomorrow, The Workplace of Tomorrow,
The Health Care Industry in Canada in the next decade and our Corporate
Community Responsibilities of Tomorrow.

In each workshop, industry experts will provide participants with a quick
view of the current state of affairs and a list of "what do we take for
granted" about today's environment. In the remaining hour or so,
participants, working in 8 teams of 10, will be asked to generate new
concepts or visions of the future, specifically using several
previously-introduced lateral thinking skills, such as de Bono's concept
challenge. And if time permits, possibly explore the impacts of those
ideas or scenarios using the McLuhan tetrad model. Each group of 10 will
have a trained leader and each workshop will be led by a trained

All ideas will then be will be collected, recorded and clustered into
common visions or scenarios after each workshop and by the end of the day.
This collection of wisdom, ideas, scenarios, provocations and
possibilities will then be used in the next stage of the strategic
planning process by senior management to look for new trends, issues,
threats or opportunities.

Has anyone else gone through such a one-day, all-inclusive process ?

I'd be interested in any process related tips, suggestions or
unexpected glitches that you ran into.

Thanks in advance and as usual, I'll summarize and post any good tips.

prof. Walter Derzko
Conestoga College

Founder, Creativity Consortium


Walter Derzko <>

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