As ‘time-limited activities designed to achieve a particular outcome’ projects have a tendency to be short term in their impact. When our organisations and communities receive most of their funding from projects, we can easily find ourselves constantly designing new projects to meet growing needs. This can make us feel like we are stuck in a project cycle with no way of getting out of it. But this does not have to be the case. Projects can have a lasting impact – if they take place in context.
Out of context all of our actions are merely a series of disconnected events that have little meaning. However, when our activities take place in the context of our long-term development their impact can be profound.
I’ve designed a creative development resource to help us achieve this. The resource helps us understand how all our activities impact on our creative development. The following image shows how each element builds up into a single coherent resource.
I have also identified a key question that helps us build each corresponding element as shown by this image:
Thus, whilst it may seem natural to describe a project in terms of the activity the key question to ask ourselves is actually: ‘What do we want to achieve?’
Only once we have a clear idea of the outcome we want we can design an activity to achieve our goals (and consider how we will know if the project is successful).
We can also use the resource to see how the project fits into our overall development.
We can do this by considering how our project (what do we want to achieve?) fits alongside our marketing (what are we looking for?) and our income strategy (what can we offer?)
This helps us create our sustainability plan for which the key question is: ‘How can we keep going?’
Finally, we can check how our plan (how can we keep going?) fits alongside our research (what shall we explore?) and our practice (what shall we do?)
If all of these are aligned we can be confident that our project is taking place in the context of our long-term development and that it is helping us be the people we want to be.
We can use this process for any aspect of our creative development so that everything we do can contribute to our long-term development as individuals, groups and communities.
Do get in touch if you’d like to know more about sustainable creative development or, better still, why not join me for a walk in development?