Phase Three: Making Sense of the Issues
Upon completion of the Data Gathering and Engagement work of Phase Two, the SPTF members entered a dynamic and definitive period of making sense of the data, impressions and perceptions that have come to fruition. Phase Three is a powerful, two-stage process. Here, the members reviewed the data to identify strategic themes that point to dominant and pervasive trends.

Stage One of Phase Three took place during an all-day interactive and engaging workshop called The Sense Making Meeting on November 15, 2012. In this workshop, the SPTF employed activities that will distill the data into subject matter. Once these were generally agreed upon, specific themes for the planning process could be defined.  

The participants in the workshop began the day by listening to each others' working group reports/presentations and were encouraged to identify emerging and consistent strategic themes. After this, through the exercise of creating a Planning Wall, members edited out redundancies, organized ideas thematically, and refined categories.  

The SPTF members agreed upon a manageable number of strategic priorities and then engaged in Stage Two. They were instructed on how to develop concept papers on each feasible strategic priority from Stage One. Members consolidated into smaller working groups to review the data and write three to five page Concept papers. These papers presented concrete evidence from the data-gathering phase.

The aim of the Concept Paper was to provide a neutral overview of key elements related to the essential strategic theme. The Concept Papers include facts, direct examples from internal and external stakeholder evidence, relevant background information, and pertinent trends in an understandable and direct manner. Once the Concept Papers were completed, they were reviewed by all the SPTF members. Concept Papers informed Phase Four, the Vision Conference, scheduled for March 22, 2013.