FOC: Chicago, IL Vignette
Forces of Change Assessment
As one component of its analysis, the Chicago Partnership worked to identify forces and trends that pose potential threats or opportunities for public health in Chicago. At their May 1999 meeting, members were asked to take home and complete a simple three-column worksheet on which they could list forces and trends in public health and threats posed and opportunities related to each of these.
Members returned their completed worksheets by fax to project staff. In all, more than 75 forces and trends were identified. Without changing the text of the submissions, staff consolidated the input onto a single worksheet on which the forces and trends were grouped under 11 larger categories. This allowed the partnership to identify forces where members had shared concerns (those appearing with greater frequency).
While an effort was made to discuss the document in full at the Chicago Partnership's June meeting, the number of issues identified and the members' interest in broader deliberations prompted the scheduling of a three-hour meeting the following month. At that meeting, the Chicago Partnership analyzed and debated points raised in the document in great detail, offering additions in some areas and challenging assumptions in others. They also consolidated some of the 11 categories. This meeting resulted in significant revisions to both the organization and substance of the document. In the end, the partnership had identified eight categories of forces/trends:
Once there was consensus on the substance and organization of the worksheet document, staff drafted a 14-page narrative reflecting the full detail from the July discussion. With the partnership's review and subsequent revisions, the narrative was included in the final public health systems improvement plan.
See Chicago Forces of Change Example to view a section of the brainstorming worksheet.