Experiential Learning

Strategy Journey Mapping: Pathways to success

Sample of strategy process

Strategy development can be onerous, mind-numbing and overly complex. Many of the tools and processes that are available are opaque and it can be challenging to connect the dots. But it doesn’t have to be that way and there are lots of proven tools and techniques to help you streamline the strategy development process within your organisation.

The Strategy Journey Map process facilitated by QUT in the Public Sector Management Program, is an interactive and real time way that leaders, key internal stakeholders, and the recipients of the strategy, can be productively and powerfully involved.

Strategy Journey Mapping is a visual, icon-driven, flexible process that enables strategy facilitators and participants to identify, share and link the various components of strategy making. The process begins with a checklist of possibilities, sectioned into the overall components that are potentially possible as inputs to an advanced agency or departmental strategy.

Traditionally, once a strategy is developed, sharing the journey and showing the outcomes can be difficult to process and understand. When you can include key stakeholders and those who will be delivering on the strategy, the strategy is more likely to be adopted and more likely to be successful.

What is shared and co-created is more likely to be actioned.

How does the Strategy Journey Mapping (SJM) Process work?

Senior leaders, department heads, ministers, and boards set the overall vision and objectives, and ensure that the strategy aligns with the entity’s values and overall purpose. The Strategy Team sets the visual frame for the Strategy Journey Map. For some organisations, the frame might be a checkerboard approach. For others, it might be a pyramid or a mind map.

The frame is itself a representation of the entity. Be sure to check what story it is telling. Too constricted and inflexible, and we might be limiting possibilities!

Overall the Strategy Journey Map Frame should be easy to share, and it should enable icons within it to move and change.

Strategy making and execution is better when key stakeholders are included, and the strategy-making networks within the entity are fluid and transparent. Informal social networks are the fibres and enablers of knowledge and action! The Strategy Journey Map shows and enables.

Samples of strategy process

Engagement in strategy = Ownership and commitment!

Getting started

  1. We start with a Strategy Checklist. This is an overview of the fundamentals of strategy making. For example, external analysis and trend impact, are essential components of any strategy-making process.
  2. Next for each component of the strategy-making process, we choose tools and processes that help us achieve the analysis and insights that are necessary for good strategy making.
  3. The result is a myriad and mosaic of tools and processes that are available and suitable for the process. The system that has been created at the Graduate School of Business at QUT, holds a suite of tools and processes, icon-style, that are fit for purpose and ready to apply.
  4. The total visual framework is then ready for a sense check, and the vital step of creating links and connections with the system. We also can check to see that key elements are covered, that vital elements, connections and stakeholders are involved.
  5. Now the real power begins. Because of the layout and visuality of the framework, we can ‘see’ the whole. The links and nodes are clear. Potential inputs from one tool to another are shown. Missing stakeholder input is easy to identify.

The various stakeholders and strategy team members can workshop the tools and models. The input is modular, it is real, and the process is creative and invigorating. Ideally the mapping takes place as a three-dimensional strategy room, with the tools and models mapped and posted as separate yet integrated activities and activity groups.

Sample of strategy process

Why does this process succeed?

It isn’t a ‘strategy from the top’ model. It becomes a strategy from within, and who truly knows better than those who do. Because the journey is integrated rather than linear, outputs and insights are more real time, systemic and holistic. It becomes a powerful driver of ACTION!

Think of this as a puzzle. Where all the stakeholders create the pieces, and the strategy team assembles. Sure – some pieces won’t fit, and there will be missing pieces and gaps. But we can SEE! Then get on with creating the whole. 

Dr Annette Quayle, a lecturer and researcher at QUT, and specialist in the field of Auditing and Accountability, recently shared at a public policy forum that good policy needs to be focused on the future. She stated, “the problems of government and policy are the same over the long term, so we need to find new ways to address them.”

It is not only necessary to find ways to break the cycle, but new ways to create the strategy and thinking BEHIND the strategy-making process.

 You can experience QUT’s Strategy Journey Mapping process through a number of learning solutions offered through QUTeX, including the highly regarded Public Sector Management Program (PSMP) – a nationally recognised and dynamic study option catering specifically for mid-level managers in the Australian public service and non-Government organisations. Learn more: https://www.qut.edu.au/study/professional-and-executive-education/upskill-and-help-your-career-take-off


Tony is a Corporate Educator for QUT, teaching strategic thinking, strategy implementation, innovation and marketing. He has strong expertise in strategic thinking and business planning, innovation and creative processes, and leadership development. Tony’s research interests include employee loyalty, organisational climates, and corporate reputation.

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