At a recent board meeting, we received an overview of a new tactical plan for one area of the association’s operations. 

As the director outlined her intentions and progress in the various components of the plan, she said that one piece was “in the sandbox stage.” Huh? Upon clarification, she shared that the sandbox stage was an analogy for creative development: “we’re still playing around with ideas for that one.” 

What a great way to think about the creative process. In a plan template such as was presented, the author is often compelled to indicate a timeline or stage of progress for each component that is included. But assigning something to the “sandbox” is a way to allow for further idea incubation and evolution, while still acknowledging that something in that broad category will be included as a tactic.

The next time you have an idea or a plan that is not fully developed, talk about it being in the sandbox stage. Hopefully it will encourage others to tinker with what is there and add their own touches to sculpt the idea into something grand.

— beth triplett

Great metaphor Penny!

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