Diagram Tools GAMEchange Methodology Journeys

Change Journeys

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.

Common Steps

Vision Journey Step 1 Vision
1: Vision or dream

what is the underlying longer-term purpose of the journey?

Vision Journey Step 2 Current Baseline
2: Current Baseline

current and/or past situation and joining the circles with the road.

Vision Journey
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 Journey
4: Milestones

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.

Vision Journey Step 6 Track and Share
5: Action Plan

to go from target to target

Vision Journey
6: Track and share

Journeys are tracked over time to assess progress, and also reasons for progress or lack of it.

Adaptation questions
  1. Whose journey is it? individual? household? collective? organisational?
  2. What is the question/ purpose/ vision? be clear so things do not become too broad to be useful as a plan.
  3. How many lanes? is it a simple vision journey or a multi-lane highway?
  4. 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

  1. Can be done as an individual or in large participatory and multi-stakeholder workhops
  2. Make sure no one draws for anyone else
  3. Facilitator should not hold the pen, participants should facilitate interactively
  4. Participants should write songs that go through the steps (see examples in videos above)
Key points
  1. Colour coding of vision (red) plan (green) current (black) risks and negative things (blue)
  2. Spend plenty of time on the opportunities and challenges. These are very important for success of the plan. At least 30 minutes.
  3. 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.
  4. 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 

Simple Journeys

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.

Meki Batu champions
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.

1: Multi-lane Highway Framework
2: Top lane: Economic/physical targets
3) Middle Lane: necessary gender/social changes
4) Bottom lane: peer sharing and organisation
Circles Diagram Tools GAMEchange Methodology

Relationship Maps

Relationship maps (also known as Circle, Venn or chapati diagrams and systems maps) show the common and distinct features between different elements represented as overlapping shapes. They are used for analysis of interrelationships and power relations.

What are they? Relationship maps show the common and distinct features between different elements eg people, institutions, markets, represented as circles and other shapes. Shapes can also be used for concept and systems mapping.

Types of Relationship Map

  • Empowerment Leadership Map looks at support networks and power relations to plan and track peer sharing.
  • Stakeholder analysis
  • Institutional governance mapping: institutional governance map to look at inter-organisational decision-making and power relations and how they can be changed.
  • Institutional advocacy mapping: mapping powerful institutions and strategies to influence them.
  • Information Systems mapping: to look at information flows and structures of power and transparency within and between organisations.
  • Market and value chain mapping: to look at possibilities for market diversification and increasing gender balance in markets:
  • Financial resource mapping: to look at the range of different sources of finance and their opportunities and challenges.

How is it done:
Generic Steps

Generic  steps

  1. Individual or target institution either as they want to be or as they currently are in a circle at the centre of the page
  2. Other elements are placed spatially far or near with different types of colour/line coding/shape.
  3. Linkages and interrelationships are shown with different types of arrow
  4. Elements or linkages to be strengthened or changed are marked with symbols representing action or by thick coloured circles.

As things change they are marked with a thick red circle as a ripe fruit or smiley face. Symbols are put against actions or targets that need more attention.

Diagram Tools GAMEchange Methodology Trees

Issue Trees

Trees are concept diagrams used for analysis of issues and strategies that can be tracked over time.

What are they?

Trees show relationships between different types of inputs and outputs in order to identify actions and target achievements.

All elements of the tree: trunk visions/structures, roots, branches and particularly the action fruits can be quantified for monitoring and impact assessment.

Types of Trees
  • Happy Family or Gender Balance Tree: The Happy family Balance Tree identifies gender and age inequalities in work contribution and expenditure benefits in the household and the changes needed for balance to make the tree grow straight and the tree to be sustainable and thrive.
  • Livelihood / Business / Financial Management Tree: Livelihood Trees are a ‘snapshot’ planning tool to examine existing costs and income structure for particular economic activities and how incomes can be increased through changing costs and/or expenditures to enable reinvestment and savings.
  • Challenge Action Tree: Challenge Action Tree (an action-oriented adaptation of a ‘problem solution tree) examines the causes of challenges, potential solutions to reach a vision and action commitments needed by individuals to move forward.
  • Multi-stakeholder negotiation ‘win-win’ trees to examine different stakeholder perspectives and bring these together as a set of action commitments for each stakeholder.

How to do it: Generic steps

Step 1: Trunk

Trees start from a trunk representing an issue or an institution like a household or community. They may also have circular linkages from branches to roots to show cycles of cross-fertilisation. representing an issue or an institution like a household or community with vision top and current circle bottom.

step 2: roots

to show inputs or causes/dimensions/perspectives.

Step 3: Branches

to show outputs or potential solutions.

Step 4: Forces

Symbols outside the trunk to show external forces and/or links between roots and branches.

Step 5: SMART Action Fruits

GAMEchange Trees must have fruits or concrete action commitments that can be implemented by individuals within a given time-frame and tracked. Not just vague ‘solutions’ like ‘more training and awareness’. These individual change commitments are shown on the branches (like apples), roots (like potatoes) and/or trunk (like cocoa).

The action fruits are tracked and turn red as they ripen. Symbols are put against actions or targets that need more attention.

Diagram Tools Diamonds GAMEchange Methodology

Vision Diamonds

Vision Diamonds are diagram frameworks for establishing local detailed indicators for visioning, targeting and impact assessment. They are particularly useful as a participatory tool to look at more sensitive issues where consensus is needed on ways forward.

For videos on Gender Diamonds from Kyrgyzstan that were too big to put on this blog see: Zemni Images Kyrgyzstan

How are Diamonds used?

Vision Diamonds show the degree of spread of values horizontally around an established norm or average. They can also show differences between stakeholders in columns vertically.

Diamonds are used to:

  • deepen visions through establishing locally relevant SMART indicators
  • investigate extent and patterns of differentiation within communities and/or groups in those visions and indicators
  • rapid participatory impact assessment
  • establish locally-relevant priorities for change and set targets

Diamonds can be drawn at individual or household level eg Friendship Diamonds. But more often they are a participatory tool that incorporates drawing games and development of participant group facilitation skills. With experienced facilitation they are a good tool to use with very large numbers of people.

Diamonds are the most complex of the GAMEchange tools to facilitate, and take time, particularly if dealing with sensitive issues. If time is very short and/or facilitation skills do not exist, then alternative visioning and assessment methods are used.

Diamond Tool Examples
  • Poverty Diamonds: the first Diamond developed with Rose Mutasi in SATNET, Uganda and used in many places including PASED, Sudan and ANANDI, India to establish women and men’s indicators for poverty targeting.
  • Empowerment Diamonds: establishes criteria of most empowered and least empowered for different stakeholders (used in many places for women’s empowerment including ANANDI, India, MFIs in Latin America and staff of ASKI in Philippines, RWEE Kyrgyzstan, Gumutindo and Bukonzo Joint in Uganda and Nestle cocoa cooperatives in Cote d’Ivoire)
  • Gender Justice and CEDAW Diamonds to identify detailed indicators for gender justice and reach consensus between women and men as part of a GALS Participatory Gender Review.
  • Happy Family Diamonds: establishes criteria for women, men and youth in Happy and Unhappy Families (used in many places including Pakistan Micro-finance Network as more ‘men-friendly’ alternative to Gender Diamonds)
  • Violence Diamonds: establishes a hierarchy of different types of psychological and physical abuse suffered by women, children and men to establish non-violent modes of conduct. Used in ANANDI, India.
  • Food Security Diamonds: used in ANANDI to look at the types of food women and men had in the most food secure and insecure households.
  • Leadership Diamonds: looks at criteria for good leaders and good members to establish agreed common codes. used in Vuasu Coffee Cooperative Union, Tanzania, to
  • Decent Work Diamonds: looks at employee and employer criteria for Decent Work and establishing an agreed Code of Conduct as part of value chain training (ILO).
  • Friendship Diamonds: a personal Diamond Tool used between two people to improve their relationship through bringing together what each person likes/dislikes about themselves and what they like/dislike about the other person.

Diamond Generic Steps

STEP 1: Individual reflection

Participants identify what criteria they think characterise extreme opposites of an issue or spectrum eg poverty, empowerment, violence. They draw these extremes on a set number of colour-coded cards.

STEP 2: Sharing

Participants form groups of people as relevant to the issue and share their cards. This is often done as a game like charades where one person comes up and shows the card, the others first have to guess what it means. Then those with the same issue/criteria hand their cards to the person at the front. That person sits down and the next person comes up until all cards are finished.

STEP 3) Voting

When they have heard everyone else’s ideas, participants are then given a certain number of votes. They come up and confidentially put a mark on the cards they want to vote on. Or they can vote by show of hands. The difference between the number of cards and the number of votes for any issue can be taken as a rough indicator of changes in attitude/awareness as a result of the exercise.

4) Ranking

Participants then count the votes and place each set of cards on the relevant level of the diamond: best likes at the top, medium likes towards the middle, medium dislikes middle below the line, worst dislikes at the bottom.

5) Action priorities

Action priorities then ringed in green as planned fruits. These are most likely to be the things that people really want, but that few people have. Or the things that people want least and many people have.

5) Plenary sharing and negotiation

Participants from each group presents their group Diamond – those who are normally least vocal should present first with others adding. One person removes the cards from their own drawing and, with discussion with the rest of the participants, places these cards either on their side or in the middle of the ‘parent diamond’. This identifies common indicators and potential lines of difference to establish common Codes of Conduct. In particular discussion of how the situation of people suffering at the bottom of the Diamond can be substantially improved.

Tracking and Impact Assessment: Achievement of action priorities are ringed as red fruits. Impact can also be shown retrospectively for individual indicators as mini-wiggly-road journeys.


It is very important that the Diamond is self-facilitated by the groups.

The facilitator’s role is mainly to ensure inclusive participatory process. They:

  • Provide the Parent Diamond Framework and give instructions on the main steps for the groups as people go along.
  • Ensure everyone is participating and the most dominant participants stand back and listen.
  • Decide the order of group presentation in the plenary – if it seems that the more powerful stakeholder groups have already given a lot of ground, then they should go first. In the case of gender diamonds men should often go first. If the process has been too conflictual, then the plenary can be left until later after ‘discussions over dinner’.
  • The facilitator/s only intervenes on substance at the end through posing certain questions and a very brief summing up. Their main inputs are informally later.

In a Nestle GALS Catalyst workshop with cocoa cooperatives in Ivory Coast gender diamonds were used with 350 women and men, many of whom had not been to a meeting before and could not read and write. The groups quickly learned to self-facilitate with a small number of people who were doing the exercise for the first time leading and in communication with the main facilitator. All the group diamonds were quantified and fed back to the plenary. But because of the gender imbalance – many more women than men – there was no bringing together in to a ‘parent diamond’.