Strategy for Good #1 – Debrief

Posted on May 30, 2011


Sooo…. this update is RIDICULOUSLY overdue. Our workshop was in JULY for god’s sake. But that’s because I’ve been so busy traveling, researching and actually doing strategy, I haven’t had any time to write about it!

So here’s the deal. Thinkers & Makers put on our first Strategy for Good workshop on July 17th, 2010. The idea was this:

Thinkers & Makers, LLC ( is proud to announce the 1st Annual Strategy for Good Workshop on July 17th, 2010. This workshop will pair non-profit leaders with brand and marketing strategists from agencies around the Twin Cities. At this workshop, teams of planners and non-profit leaders will have time to address strategic issues in their organizations.  Topics to tackle through the morning of strategic planning and  brainstorming will range from social media initiatives to broader questions about brand awareness and marketing strategy. The workshop will be held on Saturday, July 17th from 10am-12/1pm at the Ridgedale Library. Please let us know if you think someone from your team might be interested in participating, or if you know of any other potential participant organizations in the Twin Cities area.”

And the key message here is that it was AWESOME. We had five non-profits with problems to think about and we had almost THIRTY planners, strategists, brainiacs, creative types, what have you from our industry community show up to give four hours of their time to think about them.

Highlights of the day:

1- people showed up. I mean, I know our industry. And it was in the summer in Minnesota- on a day when a good 3/4 of the Twin Cities would rather be at the cabin or the lakes. And people showed up! It was so awesome to see everyone so jazzed up to use their powers for good, not evil. Everyone was all glowy- which might have been from the chocolate, coffee, muffins and other yum city treats, but I don’t think so.

2- people are SMART. I couldn’t keep up with writing all the lists of brainstormy goodness up on our flip charts.

3- the clients were SO happy. A few of the organizations couldn’t be there in person, but they were thrilled with the ideas that came back from their brief. Those who WERE there were so appreciative of the help, so mindful of their limitations, so collaborative and open to our wacky ideas, and so willing to actually ACT on some of the suggestions that were created that day.

I think our client testimonial says it best:

“The pre-workshop questions/homework were extremely helpful in that all too often I get caught up in the nittty gritty aspects of my job and your questionnaire forced me or inspired me rather to take a step back and view my organization through a strategic lens. The session was amazing. It felt like a cathartic therapy session in that for three hours I worked with a team to really drill down into how the strategic direction of my organization, which has happened rather organically, is impacting our brand. What I also realized is that we are one the right track. Since day 1 at Pillsbury United Communities I have realized that we operate at many different levels, which can create tension and confusion, but what my team helped me to work through was that operating at the different levels is okay, but that the trick is to be clear about how to communicate the different messages. The Strategy for Good Workshop was a great use of my time and was a value-added investment for my organization. My Strategy for Good Workshop team put together an implementable plan and gave me invaluable advice in three hours that has taken me a year to work through myself.”

We are working, I promise, I promise, on the next Saturday workshop. It will be in November and we will need help making it even better than the first one :-) If you’re interested, or know a non-profit who might want to participate, please email me ( or Paul Isakson (paul@thinkersandmakers) with interest and info!

And THANK YOU to our volunteers and participants- Greg Swan, Judy Abel, Betsy Treinen, Aki Spicer, Patty Radford Henderson, Ginger Sorvari Bucklin, Rohn Jay Miller, Kenji Okumura, Jeff Sauer, Brenna Whisney, Michelle Cohen, Jo Angela Manicia, Andy Santamaria, Julie Kucinski, Barbara Milon, Betsy Kershaw and Julia Donaldson- just showing up really is an incredible gift.

Em and Paul

Posted in: Uncategorized