Estuarine Mapping: a pre-strategy workshop format for leaders

Collectively map your current environment and then change things to make what you would like to have happen more likely.

A departure from typical approaches to strategy

Estuarine Mapping helps you manage the evolutionary potential of the present. It’s a counterpoint to the common approach called “backcasting”, where we define a target state and aim to close the gap. I wrote about some of the problems with backcasting for JP Castlin’s newsletter: Then & Now. If those issues sound familiar and you’re ready for a change, come join us in the estuary!

High-level overview

Imagine if your leadership team could walk into a room and emerge after two half days of workshops with a crisp portfolio of actionable and effective micro-projects for your teams to start working on.

Those attending won’t need to align on a vision, nor will they duke it out until one agenda triumphs over the rest. They’ll just need a vague agreement that things aren’t as good as they’d like and that they want to do something about it.

The micro-projects that they emerge with will deliver one of the following:

  • happy outcomes,
  • a change in your conditions that makes happy outcomes easier or more likely, or
  • increased awareness of their situation, so they can come up with even more effective micro-projects next time.

This workshop pulls people completely out of backcasting for a short while, but the outputs can easily be incorporated back into most normal business processes. This makes it excellent as a “pre-process” that generates strategic signals to help leadership teams backcast more effectively.

Talk to us about running a session

You will need a facilitator who’s experienced in this method, as it’s a non-trivial workshop to run. We can help.

If you’ve got a strategy session planned and you’re looking for something new and dazzlingly effective, grab a slot here and let’s talk about whether this method could be suitable for you:

Resources (for Product Quest Podcast listeners)

If you’re here from Product Quest Podcast, hi! Here are resources about Estuarine Mapping:

Still got questions? Drop me an email: