Journeys are a strategic planning and assessment ‘road map’ diagram to plan or assess change over time. They are the underlying framework for all GALS processes, used in many different contexts from individual level to very large collective planning processes.
Journeys are of two basic types that can be combined or done separately:
- Vision Journeys look to the future. This is generally the first Vision Journey to inspire with change to the future.
- Achievement Journeys assess lessons from the past. This is generally used as part of a later review where it is combined with planning the next vision journey to the future.
The basic Journey framework can be adapted to any issue.
1: Vision or dream
what is the underlying longer-term purpose of the journey?
2: Current Baseline
current and/or past situation and joining the circles with the road.
3: Opportunities and challenges
Opportunities: 10+ opportunities top of the road – the more you put the more likely you are to succeed and keep positive.
Challenges: a full risk analysis at the bottom of the road so that you can address or avoid them.
Analysis: Things more controllable (individual strengths and weaknesses) go closer to the road. Things that cannot be controlled (contextual opportunities and threats) go further from the road.
Balance the road: finally identify new opportunities so that opportunities still are more than risks. Or possibly abort plan.
Vision Journeys have medium term future target should be motivating, then 2-4 milestones the first of which should be after 1 month so that action starts immediately. Achievement Journey has past milestones.
5: Action Plan
to go from target to target
6: Track and share
Journeys are tracked over time to assess progress, and also reasons for progress or lack of it.
- Whose journey is it? individual? household? collective? organisational?
- What is the question/ purpose/ vision? be clear so things do not become too broad to be useful as a plan.
- How many lanes? is it a simple vision journey or a multi-lane highway?
- When should the milestones and targets be? Should these be decided by the participant? Or is there a specific organisational/project framework eg loan cycle that has to be accommodated? Is it a calendar with monthly targets?
Look carefully at distinctive GAMEchange facilitation guidelines
- Can be done as an individual or in large participatory and multi-stakeholder workhops
- Make sure no one draws for anyone else
- Facilitator should not hold the pen, participants should facilitate interactively
- Participants should write songs that go through the steps (see examples in videos above)
- Colour coding of vision (red) plan (green) current (black) risks and negative things (blue)
- Spend plenty of time on the opportunities and challenges. These are very important for success of the plan. At least 30 minutes.
- Do the target before the milestone steps to keep inspired, but you can adjust this to make it more or less ambitious after you have done the milestones.
- Make sure people understand to track and share so that they use their plan, not just put it in a cupboard and forget it. If they share with their family, they can do a family plan and put it on the wall so everyone can track progress.
Some Vision journey examples
The first Vision Journey (individual) is a simple one-lane plan to achieve one or more elements of a bigger vision.
Some other vision journeys may also only have one vision. In this case e.g gender issues can be put as opportunities and challenges. Then included in the targets and actions.
Multi-lane Vision Calendars
To plan complex issues like businesses, livelihoods or financial management where monthly targets are important, then vision journeys are drawn with as many lanes as necessary and monthly sections.
Organisational Multi-lane Highway
This is a core organisational monitoring tool. It combines targets and plans on the core intervention targets (eg livelihoods, coffee production, health), gender balance and leadership on one diagram that is tracked over time.