Final Draft

Revision Number: 1.0, Issue Date: 3/10/2016

Document History

No. Prepared by Approved by Release Date Comments

1.1

Chris Gardiner-Bill

Pam French

11/3/2017

Updated with new core group

1.0

Chris Gardiner-Bill

Pam French

3/10/2016

Approved for release

0.12

Chris Gardiner-Bill

30/6/2016

Updated with additions and corrections by Pam French

0.11

Chris Gardiner-Bill

29/6/2016

Fixed table formatting

0.10

Stuart Lewien

24/6/2016

Re-wrote Vision; some significant changes across whole document; polished up

0.9

Chris Gardiner-Bill

13/5/2016

Major changes to SWOTs and Action Plan

0.8

Chris Gardiner-Bill

13/5/2016

Minor corrections

0.7

Chris Gardiner-Bill

7/5/2016

Doc open-sourced and moved to AsciiDoc format

0.6

Chris Gardiner-Bill

16/04/2016

Moved to LibreOffice format

0.5

Chris Gardiner-Bill

10/4/2016

0.4

Chris Gardiner-Bill

3/4/2016

0.3

Chris Gardiner-Bill

1/3/2016

0.2

Chris Gardiner-Bill

31/3/2016

0.1

Chris Gardiner-Bill

30/3/2016

Drafting commenced following initial workshop

Business Plan Purpose

Why this plan was developed

This plan has been developed as the successor of the previous Transition Towns Maroondah (TTM) Strategic Plan which detailed our vision, mission and goals for 2012 to 2016. This current plan aims to provide a new operating vision, operating framework and action plan for 2016 to 2018.

In contrast to the previous plan, which was developed prior to our incorporation, this Plan has been prepared in line with formal business planning methodologies to ensure TTM is better able to encapsulate both what we want to achieve and provide a more structured framework for working with the Maroondah community, businesses and Council.

How this plan was developed

This plan began life during an initial consultation with Phil Medley and Dale Bristow of the Maroondah City Council who provided guidance on strategic planning and an insight into Council attitudes towards Sustainability and TTM as a community organisation.

Following this, the Plan was developed in collaboration by the TTM Core Group (See Organisational Context).

In May 2016, the plan was released under a Creative Commons Licence and development moved to GitHub.

The Plan was authorised and ratified by current President, Pamela French on 3/10/2016.

The scope and parameters of this plan

This plan seeks to define the strategic context and action for Transition Towns Maroondah for 2016 to 2018.

In Strategic Context, we describe our vision, mission and values.

In Organisational Context, we define TTM’s role in achieving our vision and the outcomes we want to achieve during the lifetime of this plan.

In Environmental Context and Analysis, we have conducted a detailed study of the key factors that influence our ability to meet our outcomes. We identify our stakeholders and critically analyse our strengths and weaknesses as an organisation as well the identify opportunities and threats.

Finally, in Strategic Framework, we have developed an action plan that defines how we will work towards our goals for the period and the measures by which our progress will be measured.

Strategic Context

Our vision

For Maroondah to be compliant with the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference, COP 21 agreement to limit global warming as we transition to a post-carbon based society. Maroondah will be a sustainable and resilient community caring for the natural environment and maximising participation and re-localisation.

Our mission

Transition Towns Maroondah’s vision will be achieved by:

  • Educating the community

  • Starting and encouraging healthy debate

  • Being a catalyst for community involvement and alliances

  • Advocacy at all levels of community, government and business

  • Initiating, facilitating and managing projects

  • Seeding funding for initiatives

  • Supporting and empowering people and businesses

  • Adopting global Transition Towns methods

  • Engaging with Maroondah City Council

Our values

Transition Towns Maroondah values:

  • A sustainable environment

  • A vibrant community

  • Open, respectful and honest communication and cooperation

  • Recognition that all ages, races and religions in the community are equal

  • Courage and belief in our mission

Our long term goals

  • Carbon neutrality across Maroondah

  • Sustainable transportation options available to all

  • The Maroondah community engages sustainable practices

  • A re-invigorated local economy

  • Maroondah’s natural environment preserved for future generations

  • Improved rates of recycling, re-use and local purchasing

  • Improved sharing of knowledge and skills community-wide

Organisational Context

Our Purpose, Role and Function

In this section we describe the key purpose of TTM, along with the key roles and functions that will enable us to achieve our vision.

Organisation

TTM is structured as an incorporated body and made up of a Core Group containing our office bearers as well as several ordinary members. Our Core Group is:

  • Pamela French, President

  • Stuart Lewien, Vice-President

  • Monique De Zoete, Secretary

  • Rebecca Blowfield, Treasurer

  • Yvonne Rooney, Core Group Member

  • Jess Croft, Core Group Member

  • Robin Hallett, Core Group Member

  • Chris Gardiner-Bill, Core Group Member

The officers are responsible for leadership and guidance as well as meeting TTM’s legal requirements as an incorporated body.

In general, however, the Core Group’s role is to work with the community, business and Council to educate, raise awareness and initiate and facilitate projects that will create a more sustainable and resilient community in a post-carbon based economy.

Roles and Functions

TTM is working towards the creation of an organisation model where we identify our core business functions and assign responsibility and accountability for their delivery and oversight to our members.

These roles and functions are:

  • Communications, Marketing and Publicity: To manage TTM communications across all domains (traditional, print, web and social media)

  • Grants, Proposals and Advocacy: To manage, coordinate and develop activities relating to grant applications, project proposals and advocacy.

  • Membership and Recruitment: To manage and foster TTM membership and recruitment.

  • Programme Management: To manage, facilitate and coordinate TTM and community projects and events.

  • Management and Information Systems: To develop, deploy and manage TTM business and information systems.

Table 1. TTM Functional Roles
Function Lead

Communications, Marketing and Publicity

Jess Croft

Grants, proposals and advocacy

TBA

Membership and recruitment

Monique de Zoete

Programme Management

Stuart Lewien

Management and Information Systems

Chris Gardiner-Bill

The Outcomes That Are We Seeking to Achieve

In 2016-2018 TTM will focus on the following areas. Refer to our Action Plan for further details.

Ringwood East – a sustainable pilot model

TTM is working with the Maroondah City Council to develop the Ringwood East activity area as a model of resilience, sustainability and environmental excellence which could be replicated in other areas of Maroondah.

Community and Member Participation

TTM is seeking greater participation from our members and the wider community in local events, projects and advocacy activities by individuals, businesses and schools.

Align community expectations with COP21

TTM strongly believes that reducing our reliance on carbon-based fuels is imperative to the long-term well being and prosperity of our community and the world in which we live. As such, our goal is to align community, business and Council expectations with the targets set out in the COP21 United Nations Climate Change Conference in December 2015.

Sustainable Transport

TTM aims to get more people engaged in cycling, walking and using public transport.

Expanded Projects

TTM wishes to see our existing projects continue to grow and prosper. We want to encourage and inspire people to plan and deliver more projects that benefit the community and meet our objectives.

Our achievements

TTM has achieved considerable success in the local community in recent years with initiatives including:

  • Outer Eastern Permaculture Swap (formerly Croydon Food Swap). This Food Swap intuitive began in Croydon and now has branches in Mooroolbark and Wonga Park

  • Creation of a local Ground to Ground initiative

  • Annual Earth Hour event planning and hosting in collaboration with Maroondah City Council

  • TTM website

  • Several successful social media campaigns

  • Supported participation in Ride to School days and Ride to Work days

  • Advocated for sustainable transport

  • Formed a Ringwood East Garden Group

  • Involvement in a Community Housing Group

  • Assisted with tree plantings and preservation of native bushland

  • Facilitated monthly gatherings with films, guest speakers and shared meals for Maroondah residents

  • Held a regular stall in the sustainability area of the Maroondah Festival

  • Presented Composting, Reskilling and Waste workshops

  • Involvement in Sustainability Education in relation to the Transition Towns Initiatives and broader Transition Towns Network

  • Participated in the 2040 Maroondah Vision

  • Helped Solar Information Forum promoting the value of solar power

  • Organised Street Parties

  • Participated in Forums on Education, Food Security, Energy Management

  • Played a notable role in the evolution of the Ringwood East Structure Plan

  • Involvement with discussions organised by the Council re development of the Maroondah Housing Strategy

These successes have helped to establish TTM as a well-respected local organisation. Moreover, they have provided us with a platform from which we can engage with the community on new initiatives planned for this period.

Environmental Context and Analysis

Our Influences

Political:

  • Federal and State and local Government policies and organisations

  • Free trade treaties

  • Legislation affecting technology, energy, transportation, housing, zoning and migration

  • Politicisation of environmental issues

Economic:

  • Macroeconomics

  • Local economy

  • Local food production

  • Local manufacturing

  • Green technology

  • Peak Oil

  • Food Security

  • Globalisation

  • Debt levels

Social:

  • Social media

  • Demographics including migration and increased population density

  • Other related organisations

  • Organic and permaculture movements

  • Schools

  • Other community and environmental organisations

Technological:

  • Renewable energy

  • Sustainable transport

  • Communications technology

  • Open-source software and hardware

  • DIY and Maker movement

  • Waste management

  • Recycling

  • Mesh networks

Legal:

  • Legal frameworks for incorporated bodies

  • Vehicle registration laws

  • Victorian EPA regulations

  • Zoning laws

  • Housing and planning permission

  • Energy generation laws

  • Road transport laws

  • Intellectual property law

Environmental:

  • COP21

  • Resource depletion

  • Carbon

  • Ocean acidification

  • Food Miles

  • Permaculture

Stakeholders

Due to the broad nature of TTM’s purpose, we regard everyone as a stakeholder. Some general categories include:

  • Local and Regional Government

  • Environmental Groups

  • Greenery and Food Groups

  • Community Organisations

  • Education Providers and Schools

  • Local Businesses in Maroondah

Strengths and Weaknesses

Strengths:

  • membership

  • resilience

  • long term members

  • knowledge and expertise

  • do a few things really well

  • passion and commitment

  • good relationship with council

  • respected

  • incorporated

  • have influence

  • no-one else in the space

Weaknesses:

  • lack of strategy

  • not engaged with wider membership

  • confused identity

  • lack of decision-making

  • use of IT

  • breadth of issues

  • lack of business expertise

  • lack of working alliances

  • publicity

  • lack of knowledge of our membership

  • Lack of subject matter expertise in some areas (ie waste)

Opportunities and Threats

Opportunities:

  • take more middle ground politically less left / green

  • Paris (COP21)

  • leverage off Council projects

  • election year: Federal; council

  • sustainability awards

  • size of membership

  • Ringwood East proposal – sustainability model

  • home-base / venue

  • local businesses

  • cycling in local areas

  • incorporate as charitable organisation weather

  • writing case studies

  • use of media

  • membership incentives

Threats:

  • insurance

  • people are time poor

  • cheap oil

  • burn-out

  • lack of direction and priority

  • over-committing

  • lack of looking at 80:20 principle (work smarter not harder)

  • lack of engagement:

    • membership

    • general community

  • macro-economic

  • media

  • lack of collaboration

  • not being listened to

Our Response to the SWOT Analysis

Our strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats were determined by classic SWOT analysis conducted by the Core Group under the facilitation of Phil Medley and Dale Bristow, of the Maroondah City Council.

Our approach was then as individuals to rank six of each in order of importance. These results were then combined to determine which items were most important to the group, as shown below. We then determined activities we can conduct to address each.

Strengths and weaknesses are internalities and therefore directly controllable by the TTM Core Group. Opportunities and threats are externalities and therefore not directly controllable by the TTM Core Group but nevertheless can have an impact on our success or failure in meeting our goals.

Leveraging our Strengths

In the table below, we describe the activities we will undertake that leverage our strengths as an organisation.

Table 2. Leveraging TTM Strengths
Rank Strength Activity

1

Passion and commitment

  • Our passion will be authentic and we all will actively and continually use our time, influence and talents to bring about change.

2

Relationship with Council

  • Engage with Council on projects

  • Help Council with research and studies

  • Continue to advocate on core TTM issues

3

Membership

  • Improve communication with members

  • Audit their skills

  • Encourage adoption of paying-member tiers through membership incentives

4

Knowledge and expertise

  • Find and create ways to capture and share knowledge

  • Translate knowledge into projects, presentations, learning opportunities and grants

5

Long term Core Group members

  • Continue to build on the knowledge and networks established by our long-term members

6

Incorporated status

  • Leverage our status for grants, business opportunities and potential concessions

Overcoming our weaknesses

In the table below, we describe the activities we will undertake to overcome our weaknesses as an organisation.

Table 3. Overcoming our Weaknesses
Rank Weakness Activity

1

Lack of strategy

  • Strategic Plan (this document) to outline our strategy and approach

  • Create suite of management tools to facilitate initiation and running of projects

2

Not engaged with wider membership

  • Engage and communicate more regularly with members

  • Conduct more frequent face-to-face events

3

Lack of decision making

  • Define our goals concretely

  • Define clear leadership

  • Delegate important functions to appropriately skilled members

4

Lack of knowledge of membership

  • Conduct a skills audit of membership

  • Engage and communicate more regularly with members

5

Confused identity

  • Create stronger values/mission statement

  • Create stronger branding

  • Conduct more consistent marketing and communications

6

Use of IT

  • Develop tailored solutions to TTM

  • Develop standardised templates and documents

  • Look at utilising collaboration platforms

  • Better utilisation of electronic communication and social media

  • Reach out to IT savvy members

  • Leverage open-source software

Capitalising on Opportunities

In the table below, we describe the activities we will undertake to capitalise on the opportunities we have identified.

Table 4. Capitalising on Opportunities
Rank Opportunities Activity

1

Ringwood East proposal as sustainability model

  • Work with the Maroondah Council to continually monitor progress of the planning and overseeing of the Structure Plan.

2

Climate and COP21

  • Engage with people about the record-breaking climate events

  • Capitalise on the interest generated by COP21

3

Election year - Federal and Council

  • Monitor important election issues and polls

  • Engage directly with candidates

4

Use of media

  • Look at establishing a monthly newsletter

  • Strengthen our position on social media

  • Establish a Twitter account

  • Utilise our website as a central communications hub

  • Engage with local radio and newspapers

5

Leverage off council projects

  • Work closely with and assist Council on projects with a common interest

  • Establish and improve on relationships with key council personnel

  • Recognise that Maroondah City Council is our largest and most influential stakeholder

6

Local businesses

  • Continue to work with local business on existing projects such as Ground-to-Ground

  • Establish relationships with Maroondah BizHub and other local business associations

  • Establish relationships with businesses that provide sustainable goods or services eg renewable energy, local food, cycling equipment

  • Assist businesses that have sustainability issues for example, bicycle parking could encourage their customers to cycle

Mitigating Threats

In the table below, we describe the activities we will undertake to mitigate the threats we have identified that will undermine our organisation or impede our ability to reach our goals.

Table 5. Mitigating Threats
Rank Threats Activity

1

People are time poor

  • Engage people at their interests

  • Share workloads and responsibilities

  • Leverage time-saving technology to automate tedious administrative tasks

2

Lack of direction and priority

  • Define core values and goals for the next two years

  • Prioritise tasks and projects based on available resources as well as need

3

Lack of engagement - both membership and general community

  • Engage in more and clearer communication across a range of media

  • Conduct a skills audit of members

  • Appoint a communications and stakeholder manager

  • Create a Communications and Stakeholder management plan

  • Create member incentives

4

Lack of collaboration

  • Improve communication

  • Be more clear about project requirements and tasks

  • Adopt better project management principles

  • Leverage collaboration technology to improve efficiency and access

5

Lack of looking at 80/20 principle

  • Adopt better processes

  • Utilise labour saving technology

  • Look for "low-hanging fruit"

6

Over committing

  • Establish a clear project proposal process that estimates resources and effort required

  • Limit number of projects to an achievable amount

  • Create an accessible repository to mothball projects until resources are available

  • Be more clear about project requirements and tasks

Strategic Framework

  • Ringwood East – a sustainable pilot model

  • Increase community and member participation

  • Align community expectations with COP21

  • Advocate for Sustainable Transport

  • Expanding existing projects

Action Plan

In this section we describe the major actions we will take. They have been developed from our list of goals for the 2016-2018 period and, where possible aligned to the activities developed as part of our SWOT analysis.

It is important to note that these actions are work-in-progress and many will evolve into separate projects under the stewardship of TTM and their respective project times.

Ringwood East – a sustainable pilot model

Action Description Role Performance Measure

Improve marketing and communications for Ringwood East Project.

Ringwood East project needs to improve the way the project is marketed to residents, the wider Maroondah community and local businesses.

TTM will petition Council to create or appoint a position of Marketing and Communications Coordinator for this important community project.

Council to employ person for project in a part- or full-time capacity

Membership, engaging and leveraging

Action Description Role Performance Measure

Create Core Group Officership for Communications

Communication is vital to maintaining and growing a community and our current approach is ad hoc and inconsistent and lacks clear voice and message.

The Core Group will appoint a Communications Manager charged with marketing and publicity across print, web and social media. They will be responsible for creating and executing a communication strategy delivered as a Communications Management Plan for members and stakeholders.

Core Group appoints suitable candidate.

Candidate develops working Communication Management Plan

Skills audit

Conduct a survey of skills among TTM members

TTM will develop this as a project, leveraging the website and social media

Develop, test and deliver needed software.

Successfully receive 50 survey results

Membership incentives

Currently there are no incentives to joining TTM as a paying member beyond the right to vote for TTM Officer Bearers during the AGM. This is severely impacting on potential revenue which is having a follow on effect with the ability to pay for PL insurance, domain name renewal and to finance projects.

TTM will appoint a membership and recruitment manager who will be appointed with the task of creating incentives to encourage members to join and join at the paying tier.

Attractive incentives advertised and monitored on the Membership Forms and Web Page.

Online Membership form (see technology and communication tools)

Local economy initiatives

Action Description Role Performance Measure

Swap programmes

The consumer economy is a double-edged sword, generally improving standards of living but at the same time deleting natural resources, using fossil fuels and often increasing household and personal debt. Creating a thriving barter and sharing culture is one strategy to keeping consumer products in circulation longer before they are committed to landfill or recycling.

TTM will create a series of swapping initiatives based on previous experience. The first planned initiative is a clothes swap.

Successfully plan, advertise and deliver regular swap events.

COP21, Carbon Neutrality and Renewable Energy

Action Description Role Performance Measure

Householder’s Guide to Achieving Carbon Neutrality

Produce and publish a description of how householders can achieve carbon neutrality including links to the useful resources

TTM will initiate and lead the project and will publish the document on the TTM website

Successfully create and publish the document

Advertise this resource to householders

Solar Panel Project

Maroondah CC is planning a community Solar Panel Project aimed at low-income earners

TTM will work with the Council to develop the project

Designate a Core Group member to liase with the Council project team

Devise a way for households to easily find how much energy they use

Basically no one knows how much energy their household uses each year but the information is there on energy bills if only they could be easily converted to the same units and a convenient time period; this would allow users to see how they are progressing towards carbon neutrality both numerically and graphically

Design and build a database and web interface for entry of household energy bill data which is then used to report energy usage

Successful development, testing and launch of the project

Sustainable Transportation

Action Description Role Performance Measure

Develop a TTM Sustainable Transport Manifesto

Sustainable transport is critical to transport. However, transport budgets and legislation is tightly controlled by Government. Conducting large transportation projects in road and rail is beyond the ability and budget of TTM.

TTM will create a manifesto that describes our long-term strategy for achieving sustainable transport in Maroondah. The document should recognise the impact of Peak Oil on society as well as Carbon emission on the environment. If possible, TTM will work with Maroondah CC.

Document ratified by Maroondah City Council

Improve use of Business, technology and communication tools

Action Description Role Performance Measure

Online membership forms

Currently, membership managed by a combination of offline forms, Gmail contact groups and a Wordpress plugin. Currently we ask that Members either join in person or download a form and send it manually to the Core Group. This is very inefficient and is hampering member recruitment.

TTM will look at consolidating this process, by creating a single member database with a single online form.

Successful development, testing and launch of the project.

Develop suite of project management processes

A standard suite of project (and business) management processes and documents can greatly improve efficiency and consistency. By leveraging the web, database technology and automation, they can negate administrative grind and burnout. They can also help people with limited project management experience to undertake projects following guidelines and best-practice so they can concentrate less on administration and more on achieving their project.

TTM will develop a formal suite of project management tools include: a project development process, proposal templates, project register and management plan templates. We will likely store much of it online to encourage openness and improve collaboration. The entire suite will be released under Creative Commons licence and any software created will be released under the GPL open source licence.

Develop, test and deliver the suite.

At least one major project to follow the process.

Investigate use of collaboration platform

Collaboration platforms make it easier for teams to communicate efficiently without having to meet face-to-face. Email however is not particular efficient for group collaboration.

TTM will investigate the use of emerging cloud-based collaboration platforms designed to improve efficiency and work across desktop and mobile computing platforms.