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It is a new strategy discipline specifically designed for open, loosely-connected networks. Unlike strategic planning that was designed primarily to guide strategic activity in hierarchical organizations, Strategic Doing is designed for situations in which nobody can tell anybody else what to do. Collaboration is the only way to move forward. It therefore teaches people how to form collaborations quickly, move them toward measurable outcomes and make adjustments along the way. In today’s world, collaboration is essential to meet the complex challenges we face. Strategic Doing enables leaders to design and guide new networks that generate innovative solutions. It is a new strategy discipline that is lean, agile and fast.

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How does Strategic Doing work?

Strategic Doing works by teaching simple, but not easy, skills of strategic collaboration. The skills are simple to understand, but they take practice to master. We teach the skills primarily through three to four hour strategy workshops. For organizations and communities within a region that do not have a strategic plan, Strategic Doing can generate an initial plan in a matter of hours with an intensively focused and custom workshop. The process quickly forms new collaborations among workshop participants and moves them into learning by doing.

As these collaborations form and participants learn from each other, Strategic Doing advances quickly. Short, focused strategy reviews take place regularly, usually every 30 days. With Strategic Doing, strategy becomes more like software development. New versions of the strategy appear frequently as participants learn what works.

What if we already have a strategic plan? Can Strategic Doing help us?

For organizations and communities within a region that are stuck with their strategic plan, Strategic Doing provides an agile process to accelerate implementation. By producing rapid-fire strategic action plans, Strategic Doing moves existing strategic plans to new levels of performance. For instance, using applied Strategic Doing in a wide variety of contexts from the development of new clusters and regional innovation ecosystems to the launch of new workforce innovations and the regeneration of inner-city neighborhoods.

How do we get started?

You can learn about how other organizations, communities and regions have used Strategic Doing.  Or you can connect with us directly, so we can start to explore your situation together. Since all of our Strategic Doing work is customized to meet your needs, we start all of our engagements with when you contact us to discuss your situation and identify some concrete outcomes that could help you.

1. Develop Cutting-Edge Online Data Tools

The Center is focusing on developing its Regional Decision Maker (RDM) data-driven platform. RDM will be designed to help Arewa identify regional innovation, entrepreneurship and commercialization opportunities. ACRD is working in partnership to develop this dynamic and powerful decision-making tool. Plans are underway to develop map layers that will show geographic clustering for industry and occupation clusters via the use of spatial statistical techniques. When fully launched, RDM will provide a set of value-added data layers and customized tools for use in supporting the entire Arewa regional planning.

2. Engage Key Target Groups in Using and Refining RDM Tools

RDM represents a powerful tool for mapping regional assets and opportunities. But, ensuring that these tools are seen as a valuable, practical and user-friendly tool for guiding decision-making by State leaders in northern region is equally important. As such, the ACRD is seeking to enhance the skills of individuals and groups that want to utilize the RDM. Activities being planned include:

  1. Website Development & Launch,

  2. Webinars and Face-to-Face Training, and

  3. Technical Support. Collectively, these important activities are intended to help the Center strengthen the relevance and utility of the RDM to key stakeholders.

3. Produce a Comprehensive Arewa Region Economic Profile and Other Informational Resources

To maximize the value of the RDM to a wider array of people and organizations, ACRD will develop a series of user-friendly Economic Profiles that offer Arewa region attractive document that can guide the region's economic development plans and activities. In this regard, our Center will partner both States and Local Government to develop Information Briefs that are intended to provide local economic development outlook, timely information on a variety of local and State demographic, socioeconomic, education, economic and workforce development. The briefs will be couple of flyer-pages to include visually effective graphs, charts and/or tables, and be written for lay audiences. ACRD will create peer group regional development program to be called Leading Edge Practices (LEEP), a navigational tool designed to assist States in the region in learning from one another, leading to new strategies for accelerating innovation and collaboration.

4. Implement Programs that Build on Regional Opportunities

Introducing innovative programs that complement and add value to all States within the Arewa region’s industry and occupational clusters.


5. Strengthen Arewa Regional Collaboration and Innovation Networks

The mainstay of the ACRD Center of Excellence’s collaboration work centers on its Strategic Doing initiative. This program will focus on the use of States within the regional networks to accelerate innovation, partnership and collaboration. Strategic Doing quickly develops sophisticated collaborations that help advance open innovation across organizational and political boundaries within the entire region. Strategic Doing ignites the spark of regional innovation, partnership and collaboration enabling people in loosely-joined, open networks to think and act strategically. In partnership with Small Business Development Center’s across the World, this program showcases the pivotal role of second-stage firms to employment growth and prosperity and development growth strategies, with the goal of making Arewa region an investment destination.

6. Building Capacity of Local and State Governments to effectively Address Economic and Environmental issues

The mainstay of the ACRD environmental considerations in the overall policy-making, planning, and development process at local and regional level are: 

  • Building capacity of local and States governments within the region to effectively address specific environmental issues, concerns, and strategic measures in areas like agriculture, transport, waste management, and freshwater availability that have significant relevance and implications in the context of sustainable regional development;

  • Responding to emerging issues of concern, such as climate change and human health impacts; and

  • Fostering community-based natural resource/environment management to achieve the United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).


Strategic Data for Decision-Makers

Visualizing critical data that informs Arewa leaders and organizations of the region's unique characteristics.



Economic Development & Business Growth

Building trusting relationships among key players that spur the movement of ideas into action in an agile manner for the Arewa region.


Strategy & Planning

Promoting the development of a high quality multi-year plan that builds on the economic strengths of the entire Arewa region.



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