strategic planning

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Thinking strategically in a complex environment

Kevin Townsend - Seven Knot Wind

After connecting with e-180, an inspiring company who’s mission is to ‘unlock human greatness’ by We Seek by e180curating 30-min braindates between great minds, Fiona was invited to publish an article with We Seek, a magazine about constant learning.

This guest post, Planning in fog: thinking strategically in a complex environment, outlines seven of the top principles we’re finding useful in helping clients take a complexity-informed lens to familiar challenges:

  1. View your system as a Complex Adaptive System and craft energizing questions that recognize issues as such… read more
  1. Build a good-enough vision of success—an understanding of the basic system constraints or conditions required for particular patterns to continue can be reframed into a compelling, principle-based definition of success (as opposed to a picture or scenario), and minimize detailed planning….read more
  2. Context context context. What worked in one context may not work in another, no matter how minor the differences may seem at first. Getting a good understanding of your current context requires harvesting multiple perspectives… read more
  3.  Read the article here.

Facilitate Innovative Problem Solving with LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® and Applied Creativity



Innovative results don’t just happen by sitting down with the team and trying to think of ways doing things differently. According to the Basadur Centre of Applied Creativity, there is a  basic formula:

INNOVATIVE RESULTS = the right CONTENT + the right PROCESS + the right PROCESS SKILLS + the right TOOLS + the necessary thinking STYLES.

A new car isn’t built by dumping all the parts on the floor in a pile and saying ‘Ok team, go to it’. No, we use an assembly line. Yet, this is often what we do in meetings and projects.  When we walk systematically through a process that leads us into and out of the divergent and convergent thinking skills needed at each stage, from finding and defining the problem, to finding and formulating a solution and effectively implementing it, we have a much higher chance of effectively and efficiently solving our problems and challenges.

Then there is the 10-50-90 rule of thumb. We remember 10% of what we hear, 50% of what we see and 90% of what we do.  This is where LEGO ® SERIOUS PLAY® (LSP) comes in.

As explained in a previous post found here, LSP is a methodology that always creates 100% engagement from participants, and frees us from our regular thinking patterns that can often inhibit us from letting go into a creative space.


Bringing in ‘hand-powered engagement’ from the entire team lifts the level of insight and creative dialogue at several key stages of the problem solving process.  Is the entire team understanding the problem in the same way? What perspectives and insights can each person contribute to understanding the situation? We know that given the same resources, each person will produce something different. When the problem is complex, we increase our chances of an effective and innovative solution when we can glean all the information we can. This is where most processes fall short – defining the actual problem. Many teams have a tendency to jump straight to solutions.

Once the team has identified its top potential solutions, we can enter into an LSP build of each solution and explore what each might look like in different ways.  We can even run scenario testing with the models to explore potential impacts and barriers.

Does your team have a complex challenge you need to work on? For more information about exploring your team’s cognitive diversity in the creative problem solving process, contact Fiona or Lise. Bring everyone’s full self to solving the challenge at hand.


Lansdowne Presents at 2015 IAF Conference


Lego for Serious Business…Seriously?

The 2015 Conference of the International Association of Facilitators is taking place May 14-16 in Banff, AB…. and Lise Clement and Fiona Wright, Lansdowne’s SEF team, are packing their bags to join other experts and practitioners in the field of facilitation to explore new tools, processes, lessons and connections.

Lise, head of the Strategic Planning, Stakeholder Engagement and Facilitation practice line at Lansdowne will be hosting a learning event for conference delegates on the use of LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY™ in business planning.


  • LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY™ is a radical, innovative, experiential process designed to enhance business performance. It is based on the belief that everyone can contribute to the discussion, the decisions and the outcome.
  • The use of LEGO bricks simply enables you to take a speedy shortcut to the core. The bricks work as a catalyst – and when used for building metaphors, they trigger processes that you were previously unaware of.
  • LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY™ levels the playing field, engaging 100% attention and participation.

    lego example

Come out and get your head, hands and heart working on solving your strategic business challenges.

We have also partnered with GreatWork, a technology company building a powerful online tool and tapestry based on sound strategic planning process to enable whole-hearted engagement by individuals to make effective decisions at the organizational level.


Come and see Jen and Lise discuss the wisdom behind the development of the tool and showcase applications to see if it might be a fit for your great work.

Or, follow us on Twitter @LansdowneCG.