On a cool Chicago Sunday this fall, Project Exploration’s Board of Directors and Executive Director gathered for an annual, day-long strategic planning retreat. Together, we examined the organization’s current footprint and future prospects. We believe a well thought-out strategy will help all stakeholders (employees, board-members, and funders to name a few) capitalize on the many opportunities and challenges ahead. Through hard and creative thinking, we are continually refining our strategy which, in turn, enables us to better carry out our mission.

Prior to the meeting, we were actually assigned homework! Specifically, we each completed two inward looking surveys to gather different perspectives on Project Exploration’s progress thus far.

The day officially began with a careful look at Project Exploration’s foundation – its mission, values, and vision. We then focused our attention outward. A discussion of key partnerships, competitive activity, and broader market trends helped us articulate Project Exploration’s comparative advantages. These advantages are the tools that help us win. By understanding how to leverage these tools, we will increase our impact in underserved communities across Chicago.
We concluded the retreat with deep-dives on a few pivotal areas for the organization: programming, funding, and the STEM ecosystem. These conversations yielded not only great insights, but also great questions. To address these action items, we established smaller task forces. The wheels are in motion for an exciting and productive year!

Written by: Conor Flanagan

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