The Evolution of OMSI

The Oregon Museum of Science & Industry (OMSI), one of the United States' leading science centers, has an international reputation for innovative exhibits and educational programs serving over 1 million people. However, the organization is in a time of critical change. Having operated successfully as a regional museum for nearly 70 years, it is now embarking on an ambitious expansion of its programs and geographic footprint.  

In 2014, OMSI began working with XPLANE on a comprehensive visioning and strategic planning process. OMSI chose XPLANE because they didn't want to just "go through the motions" of planning. They sought a customized approach to strategic planning that honors OMSI's unique culture of inquiry, openness, inspiration, and fun. 

After facilitating alignment on a 20-year vision for the institution, XPLANE co-designed a customized experience to achieve OMSI's planning goals in a culturally authentic way: the OMSI Strategic Planning Game. Over the course of 2014, XPLANE and OMSI piloted the game, which involves four rounds: listen, synthesize, explore, and decide. In playing the game, stakeholders are engaged through a series of ideation workshops, then participants generate "opportunity tiles" based on emergent patterns. The tiles are built upon and played in a series of prioritization exercises until the final set is agreed. 


The Results:

  • Broad stakeholder engagement across 1000+ staff, board, volunteers, visitors, and community leaders
  • A 20 year vision map, including a refreshed mission and vision statement
  • Deep research into OMSI's communications patterns; an insights report with recommendations to improve ongoing strategic alignment and transformation momentum
  • A 5 year strategic plan, focusing the organization on key foundational steps toward the 20 year vision
  • A repeatable process (the OMSI Strategic Planning Game) and accompanying Playbook to build leadership capacity for the long term

Traci Jones is the Director of Marketing at XPLANE.