The Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo is a growing community. In a little over a decade, our population has increased from under 51,856 in 2000 to more than 116,000 in 2013. In other words, our population has more than doubled.

As a result, our community is challenged with both maintaining the quality of the services we provide, and figuring out how best to provide new services addressing the impacts of this rapid population growth. We need new schools, new hospitals, new social services, new houses, new roads… and we need people to build, staff and maintain these structures and services.
In essence, we want to build a thriving, healthy community, and we want to sustain that community for our children and their children.
It is our collective responsibility to create the community we wish to see and to confront the challenges we share. No single organization can show us the way forward; we must work together. We can deliver and sustain a high quality of life in the Wood Buffalo region. By working as a team, we can share resources, work more efficiently and have a greater impact than by working alone.

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Shared Collective Aspirations

The first step in working collectively, as any sports team knows, is to have a shared vision of success: What are the rules, what strategies will serve us, and how will we know when we have won the game?

The Strategy Roadmap was developed to help answer these questions – to help guide our individual actions toward a common goal. Organizations in our community have long been grappling with the issue of building a sustainable community in the face of tremendous challenges, and many strategic plans have been written as a result. The Strategy Roadmap was developed from more than a dozen of these documents, and refined with input from many stakeholders in our community.

The Strategy Roadmap takes our shared, collective aspirations and shows them on a single page. In short, it is a map of the direction we want to take our community: what outcomes are we trying to achieve? The Strategy Roadmap is like any other map in the sense that it show our current position in relation to our intended destination.

Like any other map, only if it is correctly read can it be useful.Reading Strategy Roadmap

The map is read as follows:
On the far right, we have identified the overarching goals for our community: to be a model for sustainable living in the north (outcome circle WB-01), to have a high quality of life (WB-02) and to create a community that is resilient and responsive to change (WB-03).

In order to achieve this broad goal, there are many sub-goals which need to happen first. For example, if we follow the arrow down to the lower left corner of the map, to the PEOPLE capability area, we see that in order to have a resilient community, we need our people to thrive and have the opportunity to reach their full potential (WB-06). For that to happen, we need to ensure that our people are healthy (HW-01). For our people to be healthy, we need everyone in our region to have local access to health services (HW-14), including hospitals (HW-21), screening and early detection (HW-18) and naturopaths and holistic health care (HW-20). And in order to ensure access to naturopaths and holistic health care, there are many actions we can take, represented by the ACTION box HW-20a. If we take the right action in HW-20a, our people will have access to naturopaths and holistic health care, which will help them be healthier, to thrive, and in turn contribute to the overall resilience of our community.

Using Strategy RoadmapThe Strategy Roadmap has many uses.
Its purpose is to help guide action in directions which will link intentions to results, and bring the desired outcomes to life.
The roadmap provides a framework for:

Setting priorities and strategic planning in your organization;
Identifying opportunities for collaboration;
Identifying duplication and gaps in programs and services;
Assigning accountability;
Monitoring and reporting progress; and
Measuring performance.

It is intended to be a living document and will be updated periodically.

Working together does come with challenges. Without clear roles, responsibilities, accountability and measurement, even the most well-intentioned collaborations are at risk. (If you have ever walked out of a workshop feeling inspired by the depth of conversation but frustrated by not knowing what step to take next, you may be able to relate). The Strategy Roadmap is a useful tool to help our community take great strides toward our collective vision. However it can only be effective if it is used. We have a great plan. Let’s put it to work.
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