If you’ve ever seen me present a strategic thinking workshop, you’ve likely heard me say, “People think strategic planning is boring, and I agree with them. I’m a strategic planner, and even I don’t enjoy strategic planning. That’s why we make are so into fun strategic planning activities!”
That’s not simply a throw-away line. It’s the absolute truth.
We consciously try to develop fun strategic planning activities.
The reason fun strategic planning activities are so important is they prompt people to want to engage with strategic planning at that moment plus make them eager to participate in the future.
5 Fun Strategic Planning Activities
“Fun strategic planning activities? You have to be kidding,” you may be thinking. No, we’re absolutely SERIOUS about the FUN part!
If you’d like to incorporate more fun into your strategic planning activities, here are a few ideas we’d offer:
1. Eliminating Boring Introductions
If you’re going for a more enjoyable strategic planning session, it’s important to start on a light note. This ice breaker dumps the typical boring self-introduction and uses introductions where everyone BUT you gets to tell something about you. Here’s one secret for even more fun – have one person make up all the answers they share. When you read this post, you’ll get what I mean by that!
2. Invite Katy Perry for Her Fashion Sense
You have to go see the picture to get this, but Katy Perry’s dress at this awards show WAYYYYYYYYYY back in the day is all kinds of fun. If your challenge is re- imagining old strategic ideas, this strategic thinking exercise will inject fun into your planning.
3. Put the Pin Prick to Your Competitors
This strategic thinking exercise involves targeting a pesky competitor and thinking about every way you can be a complete nuisance for them. You have to keep the ultimate ideas you choose legal and ethical. Before that point, however, anything is fair game and lots of fun!
4. What does Ghostbusters have to do with strategy?
By definition, you aren’t supposed to be able to anticipate black swan events. But when a client wants a black swan exercise, you figure out a way to give them a black swan exercise. This fun strategic planning activity gets its fun from the connection to Ghostbusters that inspired the exercise. Other than that, it should be a LITTLE more serious than the others here.
5. Try Some Shrimp!
This exercise is called Shrimp, but you’ll see a picture of a pumpkin throwing up pumpkin seeds on the original post. Yeah, it’s kind of gross, but this particular strategic thinking exercise is a blast. In workshops, I tell the story about when we used it with a group working on a NASCAR sponsorship program. They turned the exercise toward some pretty tawdry topics, yet came out with an idea that led to getting their company’s NASCAR driver on an ABC reality TV show!
Fun, Fun, Fun, Fun*
I wouldn’t necessarily advise trying to use ALL these fun strategic planning activities with one group. But if you do, let me know. THAT would be funny! – Mike Brown