International Waters learning Exchange & Resource Network

4.3 - Strategic Thinking

What is Strategic Thinking?

Strategic Thinking is a highly collaborative process that focuses on finding and developing unique opportunities by enabling a provocative and creative dialogue among people who can affect the direction of an organisation or system. It is the input to strategic planning—good strategic thinking uncovers potential new ideas and opportunities, so that when the plan is created, it targets these opportunities. Strategic thinking is a way of understanding the fundamental drivers of an organisation or system and rigorously challenging conventional thinking about them, in conversation with others.

Why is it important in the context of the TDA/SAP process?

As described in the section on the Key Principles of the TDA/SAP Process, the TDA/SAP process should be highly participatory and collaborative, encourage stepwise consensus building, and fully engage all key stakeholder groups. In order to ensure that the SAP adheres to these principles, a collaborative process such as strategic thinking is a good starting point.

Key Steps in the strategic thinking process

This phase of SAP Development focuses on 4 key Strategic Thinking steps:

  1. Defining the vision and drafting a vision statement
  2. Setting goals to achieve the vision and reduce the impact of the transboundary problems
  3. Brainstorming innovative ideas and opportunities to meet the goals
  4. Strategising the New Ideas, Opportunities and Solutions – Identifying Alternatives