A fascinating article and followup chat in the Washington Post may well lead us to a wiser and more effective strategic planning and innovation process for access to justice. The general approach applies to any such process, and to a certain extent, at any level or size of entity.
Basically, unlike Trump,
As [Clinton] has reoriented her campaign for the general election, her team has devised a structure that reflects not geographic contiguity, with its common weather patterns or vernacular music traditions across neighboring states, but instead the different type of campaigning she will need to win each one. Most importantly, the structure acknowledges the increasing importance of early voting, which offers Clinton the potential to lock in an early lead when ballots begin to be cast in late September. . . .
In Clinton’s Brooklyn headquarters, states with major opportunities for early voting—such as North Carolina and Colorado—are in their own pod, while the remaining states are divided into two. One pod has large, diverse states like Ohio and Pennsylvania, where mobilizing minorities and young whites will be essential to her victory. The other pod contains smaller, mostly white ones like Iowa and New Hampshire, which present fewer opportunities to identify and turn out new voters but a major need for persuasion.
To put it another way, the campaign recognizes that different things need to be done in different places, and planning for and managing places with different challenges and different opportunities together makes sense.
In access to justice we have long toyed with an approach that thinks differently about states in different situations. Katherine Alteneder of SRLN has been a particularly forceful advocate and analyst of this general approach, making the case that a state has to know where it is before it can know what to do. One possible set of category names, for which she should in no way be blamed, is “advanced states,” “foundational service states,” and “emerging states.”
I personally read the Justice of All Strategic Planning Guidance as in general accord with this philosophy, although not necessarily with categories and labels. In particular, the Chart of components, at page 4 of the Strategic Plan Action Guide, and the Component Assessment Compilation in the Appendix to that document at page 14, help states and groups at all levels think in an overall way about where they are. My dependencies doucument, discussed and linked here may also be helpful in this process.
I would reiterate that these materials can be very helpful indeed to states, counties and courts that are not necessarily thinking of responding to the Justice for All RFP. They are a tool for all, and, in my humble and biased opinion, represent a significant step forward in thinking about strategy and action.