Every client challenge is unique. Recognizing this, we have built our strategic consulting methodology to accommodate the context and circumstance that accompanies every project. The phases illustrated below are intended to provide orientation for each of our client partnerships - establishing expectations and grounding each working relationship. We recognize that for many organizations, whole-systems thinking represents a new approach to strategic planning and execution. As such, our services are modular, designed to allow prospective clients the opportunity to "test-drive" this new process.
We strongly believe that sensitivity to context, relationships, and leverage are crucial aspects of strategic mindfulness. Our methodology relies on a foundation of whole-systems thinking and modeling, geared towards mapping complex systems to uncover important strategic unknowns. These clues come in the form of counterintuitive connections, causal relationships, and leverage points that often go undetected, and when identified, can create a narrative upon which to build strategies that drive organizations forward.
The six-phase process listed below caters to the full strategic life cycle, from surveying and mapping current-state conditions to predictive modeling, metrics development, and ongoing course-correction.
We begin each client engagement with an inquiry phase, empathetically unbundling client challenges with attention to context, relationships, values, and vision. This initial phase is characterized by deep listening, observation, and information mining (capturing both hard and soft data).
Our methodology is firmly grounded in the belief that subject-matter expertise resides with our client partners, and prudent strategic decision-making in challenging environments requires a willingness to embrace complexity. In order to provide clarity in complex and challenging situations, we strive to build a solid foundation of shared understanding as the first step towards whole-systems mindfulness.
Typical Deliverables Include: strategic briefs, key question identification, benchmarking reports, market/competitive research, and goal development.
With a shared understanding of issues, challenges, and context, innovative whole-systems modeling enables us to synthesize quantitative and qualitative data that we've captured, and develop clarity from complexity. Through dynamic mapping we are able to better understand systemic relationships, causal loops, and leverage points for impact intervention.
This engagement phase creates the blueprints for understanding the implications of alternative strategic agendas and informs subsequent work to identify paths to goal achievement.
Typical Deliverables Include: dynamic systems maps, flow diagramming, stakeholder parameters, visibility assessments, and key leverage point identification.
Once the relevant systems have been mapped and analyzed, the next step is to generate alternatives for strategic action. This is a creative process, facilitated by engaging a diverse array of stakeholders (identified in the mapping phase) to co-create options for system intervention that produce the desired effects. Ultimately, this phase produces recommendations for implementation, and optimizes the sequencing of next steps.
It is important to recognize that the chosen course is subject to deviations during implementation. Thorough risk analysis is conducted, and adequate flexibility should be incorporated into implementation agendas to allow for continuous learning and improvement.
Typical Deliverables Include: creative ideation sessions, scenario analysis, sensitivity and contingency planning, metrics development, reporting practices, and action agendas.
We are committed to the success of our clients, and as such, our work does not end with the simple delivery of a plan. Throughout implementation, new challenges will be encountered; new questions will surface. We pride ourselves on a continued "on the ground" involvement in course-correction as a distinctive value add for our client partners.
Typical Deliverables Include: retained consultation, metrics review, tactical planning.
It is not sufficient to deal with new challenges as they arise. Agility and responsiveness demand proactivity. Forward Mapworks monitors activity within relevant systems in real time and alerts clients to changes that may affect goal achievement. Relying upon our dynamic modeling capability, we are able to introduce new parameters into existing systems maps, simulating the effects of new developments as they happen.
Competitors respond. Demand shifts. Trends evolve. Forward Mapworks proactively identifies these events, affording your organization time to adjust and stay ahead of the curve.
Typical Deliverables Include: regular systems monitoring & alerts, competitive response reports, continuous stakeholder engagement, business intelligence assessments.
Often times when organizations adopt wider, whole-systems strategic perspectives, new opportunities are flagged as a bi-product of their enhanced awareness of the environment in which they operate. When this happens, Forward Mapworks can begin the process again in parallel, evaluating new paths in the background while you pursue current objectives.
When this exploration phase signals promising new opportunities, clients are alerted and engaged in a fresh strategic engagement, similarly designed to continue propelling the organization forward.
Typical Deliverables Include: iterative surveying, mapping, course-setting, navigation, and horizon-scanning.
New York Office 126 Greene Ave Suite 4N Brooklyn, NY 11238
+1 (206) 395-MAPS (6277)