Defining, Co-creating or distilling your mission statement


Step1: define and develop a shared understanding of the term mission

Step 2: co-create your mission statement


Step 1. Define and develop a shared understanding of the term mission

0. When i say mission you might understand and define the term differently then I do, so the first step in this process is to come to a shared understanding and definition of the term mission.

This can be done in many ways. A way that worked for us was doing a graphic jam. This is a method from the book Game Storming – A playbook for innovators, rulebreakers, and changemakers.

Materials needed: paper, pens & post-its

Read the game description below:

1. Ask the group to draw whatever comes to mind when hearing the mission. You might draw a drawing before to show as an example.

2. Once you have collected the drawings then place them all visible to all and ask the “artists” to describe and explain their drawings. Invite everyone to feel free to ask questions – encourage inquiry.

3.  Have people write down words that stood out to them when hearing the description. Hang these post-its on the flip-chart paper as on the picture below,

4. the final task is to put all those words together like fitting the pieces of a puzzle. Either do it yourself or ask if anyone in the grorup is able to write one paragraph by combining the words. Several version might appear – its fine – keep is as a brainstorming session.

Continue til everyone consents to the final sentence.

Voila – The pieces have been put together and you have found a shared understanding and definition of the term mission.

Step 2. Distill and co-create your mission statement

0. Start out by reading a mission statement from a group or organization that inspires your group. This serves as an example and provides orientation.

1.  Ask everyone to draw the group’s mission including their own on a piece of paper. Either integrated into one or two drawings. Be creative. Allow space for creativity to unfold.

A couple examles belows:

2. Once the drawings have been drawn or painting or cut you repeat the same procecss as in part 2 of step 1.

Below our mission statement for demonstrational purposes:

Have fun with coming up with your mission statement!


Leassons Learned

What was intersting by going through this process was that the images that were drawn and the mission statement we ended with was very similar to the initial intentions the founders of the community had.  I only found out afterwards from a friend who compared our mission statement with the stories the founders told him in interviews he did with them.

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