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Plan for Planning

Students at grand opening.Mick and shaking hands.Kids looking at skeletal dino head.Girl holding kelp.Kaplans signing wall.

Parts I, II and III which follow develop the planning database. Part IV sets out priorities and actions.

I. Where we are and how we got here

  1. Recap of the results of 1992-2000 Full Circle strategic plan.
  2. Revisit our Mission:
      • Comprehensive statement of the purpose(s) and nature of the San Diego Natural History Museum.
      • What do we do for whom, where, how?
  3. Our present positioning and niches.
  4. Our key values and culture. Values are the principles we have held most dear. They are the shared beliefs which energize action in a consistent manner. Culture is about our personality and style, how we do things.
  5. Our present organization structure (board, committees, volunteers and staff).
  6. Backcasting along critical dimensions of the Museum's programs and operations. This is history. It should be statistical and narrative. It includes major activities. It should pay attention to trends. It draws upon the recap in Step 1 above and the results of the transition into the new facilities.
  7. Critical Factors for Success in fulfilling our Mission (e.g. having a strong and committed board; use of advanced technologies; reliability of funding; talented professional staff).
  8. Our main internal strengths and weaknesses.


II. Our primary constituencies (can be thought of as diverse target audiences)

  1. Who they are.
  2. Statistical measures about them.
  3. The perceptions and expectations they hold of the Museum.
  4. Forecast for their growth or decline.
  5. Key factors influencing their growth or decline.

III. Assumptions about the external environment

  1. Forecast the future along relevant dimensions. Make critical assumptions about forces in the external environment that will likely have the most significant impacts on the Museum over the next decade.
  2. Perform competitive analyses.
      • Identify who our principal competitors will be over the next ten years. Describe them. Consider their missions...sizes and services...organization...positionings and niches...development and marketing strategies...technology status...financial condition... management and staff abilities and depth...other strengths and vulnerabilities.
      • Identify our present principal competitive advantages and disadvantages.
  3. Identify our main external opportunities and threats based on the above information and analyses.
  4. Identify potential partners for leveraging our resources.

IV. Where we want to go and how we're going to get there together

  1. Core challenges faced by the Museum in 2002-2012.
  2. Create our Vision for the future. Assuming we fulfill our Mission, what would be our ideal positioning and niches in 2012?
  3. Determine our principal priorities for action, for change. Where we most need to do things that are new, better and different...called Key Result Areas (KRA)...where we most need to make things happen.
  4. Determine specific, measurable, time-certain objectives in each KRA.
  5. Determine strategies for achieving the objectives.
  6. Prepare Action Plans (including resource requirements and cost/benefit analyses) for implementing the strategies.
  7. Likely responses to our strategies (internally and externally). How can we influence responses to be what we would like them to be?
  8. Determine the impact of this plan on how we are organized. Changes needed? When?
  9. Make provisions for effective interaction between this strategic plan and the strategic plans and annual operating plans of the Museum's divisions and departments.
  10. Develop a Plan for Communicating the Plan.
  11. Provide for progressive review of Action Plan implementation and results...and for monitoring changes in the external environment.

Task Forces of Museum staff will be created to perform much of the research required for Parts I, II and III of the Plan for Planning. An outside firm will design and carry out survey and focus group research needed for developing the planning database.

Later other task forces will carry out preparatory work for the Key Result Areas (KRAs) as the latter are determined by the SPT. While SPT members will be included in some task forces, the research homework will be assigned to the Museum staff most connected to the individual KRAs.

External Authorities from the museum, technology, exhibition, science and education worlds will be invited to be resource persons at various SPT and task force meetings.

Visits by SPT members to other museums with reputations for the most advanced exhibiting, education programs, technologies, and financial development will be scheduled during the course of the planning sessions.

As an important part of our database research, one focus group will be held in Tijuana, Mexico, with key cultural and business leaders participating.

Further, a special relationship-building workshop will be held in Baja California to encourage collaborative efforts of strategically positioned science, government, education and business leaders of Mexico in our planning process.

Facilitators Robert F. Smith and Cynthia Carson, both experienced in the Museum's current and earlier planning, will assist in process design, preparations and coordination; facilitate the SPT sessions; work with task forces; and counsel the early implementation stages.

Scheduling Planning Sessions

Starting in July, 2001 a series of six one-day sessions will be scheduled. One or more of these days may be split into two half-days. The wrap-up session will take place in the fourth quarter of the 2001-2002 fiscal year. The first year of implementation will be 2002-2003.

Sessions will be held in the fully equipped, conferee-friendly boardroom of the Museum's new wing.

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