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Delving Deeper Into Methods for Effective Action

More Action Methods from Institute Archives


How to support what you have decided to do

Art of Framing

Framing Model & Procedures for Framing, Methods Manual, pp 24-25.

Framing is to secure the support of people within communities, groups, organizations, and formal structures in order to move toward a successful project. It is often used to open an arena of authorization or funding for a project.

Accelerate Neighborhood Climate Action is a nonprofit organization launched by Denver ICA colleagues to ramp up place-based citizen involvement in climate change mitigation. The project has required careful framing across the Denver Metro with other climate-related organizations as well as for each neighborhood. See Applications and Results in the Resources section for an example from these events.


Gridding is a way to see rational patterns and relationships in geography. It is a  process for becoming familiar with geography by walking the boundaries and internal arteries (streets or paths) and noting what is seen and then drawing a map. Gridding helps a group to form a consensus about responsibility for a particular geography. The documents below explain the underlying depth and value of the process as well as clear instructions on how to do it.


Gridding Geography Using the Artform Method, attributed to Larry Phibrook, ICA Taiwan, 

Methods ManualHistorial Document, Gridding p.16

Teaching Gridding, attributed to Ann Avery, United Kingdom, 2008

Then There is the Job of Gridding, a paper written from Manual of Model Building, Ecumenical Institute, undated (probably late ‘60’s or early ‘70’s)


Gridding can be applied beyond a neighborhood by symbolically creating the reality for a city, a region, a state, a nation, or the globe. See the samples below.

Maneuver Building

Maneuver building is a form of planning taken from Sun Tsu’s The Art of War. It is a way of looking at the intended outcome (“standing in the victory circle”) and planning carefully how to get there. It later evolved into the Action Planning process taught in ToP courses. 

The Art of Maneuver, Global Research Assembly, Institute of Cultural Affairs, Chicago, July 1978. 

Campaign Maneuver-Building Worksheet, Institute of Cultural Affairs, Global Research Assembly, Chicago, July 1978. 

Campaign Maneuver-Building Steps, Institute of Cultural Affairs, July 2, 1981, ICA: New York.

Maneuver Building Methods, Institute of Cultural Affairs, New York Area, Qtr. IV 1978 (3 page paper)

The Wisdom of Maneuvers as Life MethodMethods Manual, pp. 26-27, Tactical Thinking: The Indicative Battleplan, GRA Summer 1972, Guild 10, no attribution, (Serial # 8236)

On Maneuvering, Global Priors Council, Chicago – No date


Model Building

Artistry of Model Building, Robert Lingafelter, Research Centrum, ICA,

Model Building Methods, George West,  Ecumenical Institute, Collegium, March 1971 (transcribed talk, 8 pages)

Manual of Model Building, Ecumenical Institute, Chicago, March 1971

The Power of Abstraction: Model Building as a Way of Life, California Institute of Technology, William Cozart 


Problem Solving Unit (PSU)

Problem Solving Unit, Methods Manual, A Handbook, pp. 20-21Problem Solving Unit (PSU)

PSU Manual, Procedures for a Problem Solving Unit, Winter Quarter, 1973, Institute of Cultural Affairs, Chicago 


Strategic Planning & Action Planning

ToP Training: Comparison between Action Planning & Strategic Planning 

Sunny Walker, SunWalker Enterprises, late 1990s 

Building Commitment Into Strategic Plans

Association Management magazine, September 1994, Ken Whitney



The Dynamics of Workshopping Chart by Gene Marshall (undated, appears to be an early historical document)

Workshopping Methods, Ecumenical Institute, Chicago, Spring 1971

Workshopping Methods, An early talk by John Baggett on the foundational/depth understanding of the Workshopping Method. Ecumenical Institute, Spring 1971, Chicago