Using DoView® to plan for a city or region

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We consult on applying DoView Planning in city and regional planning


Planning for a city or region is complex 

A city or region contains a full range of enterprises, organizations, sectors and activities working at multiple levels. The planning task is almost as complex as attempting to plan for a country as a whole. See more information on visual outcomes planning for all aspects of local government.

The rapid decent into documentation overload

Anyone who has done such planning (or read such planning documentation) knows that multiple levels of documentation end up being produced. The question ‘where can I find information on so-and-do?’ inevitably invites the response: ‘you just need to look on page 324 within the table inside the annex to the third set of planning documents’. It works for those who have plenty of time on their hands to wade through the relevant documents. Of course, there are always attempts to provide glossy overviews for the public. However, they are necessarily struck at such a level of generality that they don't provide a technical framework for serious priority and co-design discussions amongst decision-makers, stakeholders and the public.

Is there a faster way of getting a helicopter view plus drill-down

A DoView® Strategy Diagram of a city or region’s outcomes and the proposed means of achieving them, provides the simple but not simplistic missing tool in city and regional planning.

Argue about outcomes, determine priorities, key indicators and more

The ultimate purpose of planning for a city or region is to be able to: define a 'success story’ that most stakeholders and citizens will sign up to; figure out what needs to happen to get there; and, have a robust co-design discussion about what are the immediate priorities and necessary strategies. A DoView® Strategy Diagram for a city or region provides a visual respresentation of this potential success story. The arguments and discussion about strategy and priorities are then focused directly onto this visual model. It acts as a ‘shared thinking tool’ you can use in real-time in strategy co-design discussions with the public, stakeholders, management and staff. Once a forward direction is established the DoView® Strategy Diagram is then used to direct and guide implemenation. The methodology has been designed to be agile enough so that it can allow for immediate course correction and rethinking strategy as implementation proceeds.

What a city or region DoView® Strategy Diagram looks like

Below is an overview of a poster version of a DoView Strategy Diagram for a city. The diagram is made up of a high-level helicopter view togther with multiple drill-down pages below it. The high level overview, naturally enough, provides an overview of the drill-down boxes that are in the diagram. There is a blue drill-down box for innovation, leadership, policies, finance and business; a yellow drill-down box for revitalised infrastructure, buildings and environment; and a pink drill-down box for vibrant people, institutions and social sectors.  When you drill-down to these drill-down pages there is another set of pages you can drill-down to below them. This modular and scalable drill-down structure means that you can get a helicopter plus drill-down view of the model. The fact that you can drill-down several levels means that you can also visually model the complexity of a system as complex as a city or region. 

Participating in the process of building a DoView® Strategy Diagram ensures that decision-makers need to consider both outcomes and the pathways needed to achieve these outcomes. The strategy diagram can then be used for a range of planning-related processes. These include: showing the relationship between your activities and outcomes specified by other parties (for instance in a regional or local government setting, outcomes specified by the national government); discussing possible priorities with stakeholders; setting priorities; having a standard framework for specifying the outcomes of specific projects; identifying indicators; identifying the accountabilities of different parties; and identifying how to measure the impact of different projects on outcomes. 

These strategy diagrams can be built in real time in strategy meetings using DoView® software. When doing this you are able to immediately click through the various levels of the strategy diagram as you build it. This interactivitiy means that the strategy diagram can be used as a living ’shared thinking tool’ which a group uses to discuss outcomes and the strategy for achieving them. 

And example of how a drill-down DoView® Strategy Diagram works is available here. This is from a different sector (mental health) but it illustrates who the drill-down approach works.  

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Below is a poster version of the individual drill-down pages below the pink drill-down on vibrant people, institutions and social sectors.  

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How to use the approach

DoView® Strategy Diagrams are built in award winning DoView® visual planning software which is used in 55+ countries. Download a trial copy of the software and play around with a template. Apply the methodology for planning, performance management and proving impact. Interested in using the approach? Contact us now to let us know how you might like to use it and we’ll show you how you can make your job easier by using this new approach to visual planning.

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