September 30: Strategic Plan

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These steps come from How to Write a Strategic Plan

STEP 1: Contemplate CP's vision.

Contemplate your organization's vision. Identify what your organization stands for, what it hopes to accomplish, what its responsibilities are, what segment of the population it wishes to cater to and work with, how it wants to be viewed and what type of growth it wants to experience.

  • What does CP stand for?
  • CP stands for (and seeks to enact) critical practice within art, the field of culture and (its) organization...
  • Is it worth revisiting how we're thinking about 'critical' and about 'practice' and how we're thinking about 'critical practice'?
  • What do we want to be doing?
  • We aim to accomplish FILL IN THE BLANK...and by FILL IN THE BLANK.
  • (1) : Ongoing...a new phase of self-organisation that is evaluatively reflective/reflexive - in response to our marketeering;
  • (2) May 2014: An enterprise aimed at securing a funding stream for CP - farmer's market
  • (3) September 2014: a pre-season of events leading up to... (Why wait? - we could organise things earlier?)
  • (4) March 2014: Utopia event... (Is this a CP event?)
  • (5) May 2015: Research process culminating in a large-scale public event (PARADE 2? - a Market of Evaluation?);
  • (6) July 2015: a process-focused publication that critically disseminates our practice-based research...or?...our organisational structure struggles to meet deadlines...

*What are CP's responsibilities?

  • its members/immediate community/network?
  • its institutional context (Chelsea/CCW)? If CP isn't receiving money from Chelsea but receives staffing (Marsha's post-doc)...does the Cluster have any obligations? Or is it a case of these (paid) individuals having obligations? We have no formal obligation but we produce a lot of value for CCW - so it's a kind of social contract but there is no formal agreement.
  • its cultural context...
  • each other...
  • enrich the commons through, for instance, organising public events and making resources generated through these events publicaly available.
  • reproduce in a sustainable fashion by avoid doing harm.

*Who does CP wish to work with?

  • We want to work with a combination of emerging practitioners (students and recent graduates), established and practitioners who share our ethos and affinities, experts in areas we're researching...and...Others (interested communities)? And what about the outer verges of practice?

*How does CP want to be viewed?

  • Lovingly

*What type of growth does CP want to experience?

  • Generating recognition - raising CP's profile - doing interesting research and publishing and disseminating it. Developing mechanisms for more effectively distributing values. Enrich our network...

STEP 2: Write a mission statement

Write a mission statement. The purpose of your mission statement is to summate your organization's underlying purpose, or vision. Strategic plans are extensions of the mission statement, as it is the mission statement that guides the goals and serves as a means of measuring an organization's success. An example of a mission statement is, "It is our goal to be the nation's leading pet supply chain. We will accomplish this by researching, sourcing and providing for our customers the best available variety of low-cost, high-quality goods, and by exceeding customer service expectations in a way that will foster strong relationships with our customers."

*Does CP need a mission statement in addition to its aims and objectives? Would we refuse/refrain/negate this document on the grounds that's too corporate...or? Here's the numb: Critical Practice seeks to avoid the passive reproduction of art, and uncritical cultural production. Our research, projects, exhibitions, publications and funding, our very constitution and administration are legitimate subjects of critical enquiry. All art is organised, so we are trying to be sensitive to issues of governance. Governance emerges whenever there is a deliberate organisation of interactions between people, we are striving to be an 'open' organization, and to make all decisions, processes and production, accessible and transparent. We post all agendas, minutes, budget and decision-making processes online for public scrutiny.

STEP 3: Evaluate your organization's current standing.

In order to plot out a course for reaching your goals, you must first understand where you are in the process of reaching those goals. Consider the following:

  • Determine what your strengths and weaknesses are. You will need to develop a strategic plan that makes use of your strengths in order to minimize your weaknesses. Here are a few suggestions...
  • Strengths:
(1) We're survivors - CP in one of the longest running groups at Chelsea and perhaps in the UAL
(2) We're resourceful - we do a lot with very little money (this could also be a weakness...)
(3) We operate through a mixed economy of paid and unpaid labour, (this could also be a weakness...what impact with the post-doc have?)
(4) We know that being a flat hierarchy and transparent are aspirational in contrast to actual - we try to be principled about this and avoid being dogmatic...
(4) We're nimble and dynamic by dint of being a cluster in contrast to a collective - we can make binding decisions with relative ease and we value enthusiasm
(5) We're sustainable in part because we work at striking a balance between understanding our work together as an end in itself and understanding it as being operative in the world as well as (ambivalently) embedded in an institutional context
(6) In some ways, we're a very diverse group--ideologically and culturally speaking, for sure. And yet we manage to co-exist...and aim to mine our difference as a resource
(7) We care about each other (this could also be a weakness)
  • Weaknesses:
(1) We're not great at getting money - though there is discussion around whether or not we've ever tasked ourselves with this...
(2) We're not great at publicity and self-promotion - self-representation
(3) We're not great at platforming the practices of our members - Is it an issue of people representing their practice or people in the group feeling represented by Critical Practice?
(4) We can tend towards quite a narrow definition of 'critical practice'
(5) We're not great at using the wiki (or this is dominated by a couple of people)
(6) We're not great at evaluating/archiving/reflecting on our past activities (or this is dominated by a couple of people)
(7) We're not always as sensitive as we could be about authorial attribution - photo credits, for example - cutting and pasting images into the wiki...
(8) We tend to confuse aspiration for substance - Where's the quorn?! Different types of knowledge...feeding back (?)
(9) We are open in some ways but not in others...

  • Identify opportunities for growth. You may have a couple of investor offers on the table, or foresee an especially successful fundraising effort. Whatever your organization's purpose, you must be able to list viable opportunities for reaching your goals so that you can include in your strategic planning the means with which you will seize and make the most of those opportunities.
  • If our goal is to realise the market of evaluation, then the farmer's market is viable opportunity for meeting the goal.
  • Pinpoint threats to the success of your strategic plans. Threats may be in the form of an economic recession, an industry competitor or a change in government regulations. Your plan must address these threats and counter them with a viable strategy.
  • Limited resources

STEP 4: List factors necessary to success

Strategic plans must include specifics about the types of circumstances that will lead to the accomplishment of goals.
Keep in mind 4 key focus areas when envisioning your objectives: financial goals, customer relations, operational methods and organization members. Citing the pet supply example, critical success factors might include things like relationships with quality pet supply distributors, a competent customer care team, a strong Internet presence providing round-the-clock services on a national level, state-of-the art accounting software and a research team devoted to finding the latest, greatest pet supplies.
Working Groups

  • (3) Reflection: What do 'Critical' and 'Practice' mean? How to reflect and how to make members of the group feel represented through Critical Practice's activity? How to organise our activity to give space for this? i.e. meeting structure.
  • (1) Funding Ourselves: the Millbank Market (if this is not a possibility, other options will be sought through this working group)
  • (2) Research: How to practice research? What the processes of research could be and whether or not the utopian studies event could be used as a stepping stone for researching the Market of Evaluation? Reading groups? Talks? Walks? Market of Evaluation...
  • (5) Research Documentation: Market of Evaluation publication(how, what and when?). Archiving and timeline: How can the wiki be used?
  • (4) Sharing research: who to reach and why? Outwardly facing research - raising CP's profile - thinking about mechanism for distributing (authorial) value

Conditions of Possibility

  • Members need to see value in contributing to CP (projects, activities, etc.) for themselves
  • Prioritising in a way practicing that ensures a combination of the pragmatic and sustainable aspects
  • We organise and empower working groups to focus on aspect of CP and drive these aspects
  • We become self-financing
  • We reflexively engage with evaluation across our research and priortise this in our way of working
  • We develop an archive of practice
  • University cooperation
  • Borough cooperation
  • The ongoing health and goodwill in/of CP
  • Ongoing determination and momentum
  • Realise the Market of Evaluation

STEP 5: Develop a strategy for accomplishing each success factor

This should be in the form of a step-by-step plan, and should outline exactly what needs to be done, in what time frame, for how much of an investment and by which responsible party.
Prioritize your strategies according to viability and growth goals. Taking into account all of the steps that are necessary to achieving each of your goals, as well as the order of importance in reaching those goals, itemize your strategic plan chronologically. For example, your goal of running your own fleet of trucks for delivery purposes may be considered a long term goal, as it will be very costly and you already have a temporary plan in place via shipment through third party entities; therefore, you may prioritize more urgent goals higher on the list.

STEP 6: Prioritize your strategies according to viability and growth goals

Taking into account all of the steps that are necessary to achieving each of your goals, as well as the order of importance in reaching those goals, itemize your strategic plan chronologically. For example, your goal of running your own fleet of trucks for delivery purposes may be considered a long term goal, as it will be very costly and you already have a temporary plan in place via shipment through third party entities; therefore, you may prioritize more urgent goals higher on the list.

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  • There have been questions about the difference between a 'strategic plan,' a 'business plan' and an 'action plan'... Let's discuss...
  • How does CP thinking about 'critical' and 'practice' as well as 'critical practice'? Let's discuss...
  • Are we forming systems of evaluation that re-think methods for valuing, or that create values (which give worth) and thinking about what this worth is?


  • Neil to teach Scott to use the wiki
  • Amy will make the wiki pages for the working groups
  • Form the working groups and then prepare to feedback on the how they will/won't feed back into the Market of Evaluation - perhaps at the end of January...let's see if/how the working groups form.