Anyone who knows me knows how much I love a good Action Plan. The art of planning appeals to both the organizer and the designer in me. I love taking time to envision big dreams, think about the paths to achieving them, and getting into the details that will translate concepts into reality.
Action planning isn’t just a good practice for running an organization and achieving goals. It’s also an integral part of a solid Public Image. Knowing what you are trying to do and on what timeline makes it easier to communicate and engage people in your vision, which is absolutely critical for anyone tackling important social issues and trying to make the world a better place.
Each year, at Social Impact Studios, we create our own annual Action Plan. We do it for ourselves and we do it to work with (and often tweak) the tools we’ve developed to help others. This year, we took a very different approach. We embarked on a 3-year plan developed last fall that will take us all the way through 2020. In our 22 years as a social enterprise, we’ve never planned on such a long timeline. We usually focus more on the immediate needs of our field and to keeping our day-to-day work nimble in order to adapt to the volatile, changing nature of communications and social change in this era.
While we’ll continue to stay flexible, we believe the next 3 years is a critical time to fully grow our Public Image Works method to help a movement of positive change succeed. As people committed to creating a healthy, happy and peaceful world for everyone, we don’t have a minute to waste. We must clearly and strongly communicate our vision and we must promote the real-life ways that big ideas can be manifested right away.
By 2020, we hope to channel 80% of our efforts through “The Public Image Workshop” – a framework that helps people make the most of the method that connects the dots between Action Plans, Identity, Promotion & Engagement. Growing in that area will also free up more time and space for creative collaborative impact projects that need special attention. And, not to worry, we worked Posters for the People into the plan too. We will continue to track down more hidden WPA posters while expanding the reach of our traveling exhibit.
Overall, it’s a strategy that will benefit all areas of our work – but more importantly, our core mission to promote important social issues.
A big first step in our plan is a decision to move out of our Studios on 4th Street in Philadelphia. While we love the space we created and inhabited for 18 years, it’s time for a change of location to help refresh our perspective. For the next 2 years, we plan to be in “incubation mode” – growing our Public Image Works team, tweaking the method, and testing the platform. So, we are currently looking for a space in Philly that is more conducive to creative exploration for our move at the end of April.
If you have Philly space to lease that would make a good incubator – or know of any – please let us know!
I’m looking forward to sharing updates along the way as we set out on this plan toward 2020. I hope you’ll reach out to share how you are looking to the future too. It’s so important to stay connected and aware of the ways each of us are envisioning a more fair, just and sustainable world. I like to think of it as parts of one big collective, living Action Plan!