The authors conducted three participatory workshops with members of the Victorian Local Government Association (VLGA). The latter is a lobby group funded by local municipalities within the metropolis of Melbourne, Australia. The aim of our workshops was to strategically evaluate the possible directions that VLGA might take over the next ten years. The first workshop used “situation-structuring” software; the second employed “cognitive mapping”; and the third exploited a “strategic planning” program. Some software packages were more useful than others, as verified by both the authors’ observations and the participants’ post-workshop evaluations, and here we speculate why. We conclude that situation structuring software is extremely useful since it invariably generates classifications of underlying issues that are eminently plausible. On the other hand, the cognitive mapping software that we used is often confusing, easy to misapply and critically dependent on having an innovative facilitator for its success. Finally, “strategic planning” software, especially if it is of the self-improving kind, is potentially, very useful for better organizational planning. Nevertheless, the impact of our workshops on VLGA’s daily operations appears to have been negligible. Again, we speculate why, and we also relate our conclusions to those found in the decision-aiding literature.
Using decision-aiding software, and participatory workshops, for better strategic management of a public authority / Wyatt, R; Plaisant, Alessandro; Smith, J.. - (2004). (Intervento presentato al convegno AESOP 2004 Grenoble: Metropolitan Planning and Environmental Issues nel July 1st-4th 2004).