Vertical, horizontal, and strategic planning process

Continuing a series of posts on the development of the Collaborative for Exploration of Scientific and Political Change within the framework of Ben Schwendener’s Seminar on Creativity.


4 June 2011
Vertical, horizontal, and strategic planning process
1. The Practical Vision stage of ICA’s Strategic participatory planning process begins to get at the elements of a unity. However, moving through the Underlying Obstacles (the 2nd stage) to define Strategic Directions (the 3rd stage) would do better at making the changes in structure emerge in a way that the individual (in personal planning) or group (in participatory planning) would be invested in.

  • B.S. email 6/14: I like this: it means the participants are truly invested in the change. People act when something truly means something to them.

2. It is possible that the Schwendener and Fritz approaches work better for the self-contained world of a musical composition—something that an individual can create—than for a collective activity embedded in a shifting context [6/1: though see Fritz, p. 41ff]. In contrast, the Strategic participatory planning process supports a collective response to a shifting context. (The hybrid collective-individual clustering and naming that I am experimenting with might begin to bridge those two realms.)
3. The clusters may seem like elements of a unity but the process of paying attention to the diverse items from the brainstorming is an important part of the process. (I have to see if Ben and Fritz capture this as well.) Without attention to the diverse items, the themes from the named clusters might symbolize or serve as a shorthand guide to the change, but I’m thinking that the instantiation in the person that comes from brainstorming, clustering, and naming is what really counts.

  • B.S. email 6/14: yes; value-creating ‘action elements’!
  • Also, references to planning are important. Each one of us create, or contribute to the collaborative creation of, a plan. Its this plan – unique in its aim, which seeks to address and embrace the diverse complexities, open in nature. Dialogue serves well in uncovering the correspondences within complexities.

About Peter J. Taylor
Peter Taylor is a Professor at the University of Massachusetts Boston where he teaches and directs undergraduate and graduate programs on critical thinking, reflective practice, and science-in-society. His research and writing focuses on the complexity of environmental and health sciences in their social context, incl. Unruly Complexity: Ecology, Interpretation, Engagement (U. Chicago Press, 2005) and Nature-nurture? No (2014, On reflective practice, see Taking Yourself Seriously: Processes of Research & Engagement (with J. Szteiter, 2012,

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