Our Favorite Buzzwords: Strategic Planning and Innovation - Dance Marathon

Our Favorite Buzzwords: Strategic Planning and Innovation

  • Our Favorite Buzzwords: Strategic Planning and Innovation

    We tend to look at powerhouse Dance Marathon programs, put them on a pedestal, and ask, “How do you do it?” assuming they’ll be one single sentence that can sum up success. In reality, what makes these programs continue to thrive is their refusal to become complacent and their drive to make a larger impact year after year.

    Two examples of this are programs in Indiana: Purdue University Dance Marathon (PUDM) and Indiana University Dance Marathon (IUDM).

    PUDM became the youngest Dance Marathon program in the network to hit the $1M threshold. Like many programs, the question after that year became, “What next?”. After two more years of breaking the $1M mark, PUDM decided this was the year they wanted to lay out a comprehensive strategic plan to ensure they have a vision for the future. What does a great first draft of a strategic plan look like? Over 10 pages of ideas, questions to dive deeper into the “why” behind their marathon, and goals for the future. It’s going to take some serious work to organize and prioritize those thoughts into a strategic plan, but PUDM leaders are up for the challenge.

    IUDM is also creating a strategic plan this year, and along the way they’re reevaluating nearly every aspect of their organization. Their first SWOT analysis was lengthy, and their ability to evaluate every aspect of their marathon was impressive. But they took it a step further and got down to the reasoning behind all of their concerns, victories, questions, and challenges. IUDM has taken this deeper dive into examining why they have certain traditions, what they add to the dancers’ experience, and how they can be updated to make IUDM the best experience for all those involved. Rather than relying on the notion of, “Well, this has worked in the past; we’ll just keep doing it.”, IUDM is determined to innovate.

    What I love most about these two programs is that they’re actively getting out of that DM bubble we all get trapped in. They’re looking outside of their marathon and marathons in their state, and truly utilizing the network to ask questions, share ideas, and ultimately set themselves up for their 2016 events and beyond.

    Briana Willcockson
    Dance Marathon Manager | Indiana

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