Why use this tool?

Your work doesn’t end when you finish writing your research report – the research needs to be used. Turn your research insights into achievable actions with the help of this tool and the action planning template.

Before you start

Is this tool right for you? To find out more about selecting the best tool, check out the project planner.

What you'll need

Time1 hour to prepare, 2-3 hours to run your action planning session, and 2 hours to finalise and follow up.
BudgetNo cost
EquipmentComputer or white board

Top tip: Don’t let all your hard work sit on a shelf. Take the time to do your action planning.

Step by step

1. Set aside time for action planning

Now that your research report is finished it’s time to translate your findings into actions. Book in a time with your team, trusted mentors, friends or colleagues for an action-planning session. Allow at least a couple of hours for this session.

2. Planning the session

Make sure everyone has had a chance to read your research report before your session.

Give a little bit of homework to your attendees: ask them to think about the insights and opportunities that stand out for them, and to come to your action-planning session prepared to share two points:

  • three important actions or big ideas to tackle
  • three ‘quick wins’ or easy ways to implement the research.

Remember to do this yourself, too.

Next, check out the action results template which you can download at the end of this page.

Think about how you’ll use this template on the day – keeping in mind that at the end of the session you ideally want to have this all filled out. You could print it, project it onto a wall or screen, use post-it notes, use the headings on a white board, or bring your laptop with you to update it in real time. It’s a good idea to have a couple of hard copies of the research report and/or a list of opportunities from the report available for attendees to refer to during the session.

3. Conduct the session

Start the session by thanking everyone for their time. Outline what you want to get out of the session i.e. to complete the action your results template.

Briefly recap on the top findings and opportunities identified in the research. Ask attendees to share their most important ideas and quick wins. Write these up as you go around the room. Ask yourself and others if there are common themes emerging. What are the overlaps or differences between what’s important and what’s urgent? Asking these questions will help you prioritise.

To brainstorm and develop your list of emerging opportunities and actions further, start with the first column of the template and work your way across, asking some of the following questions:

  • Opportunities: What are the key opportunities that emerged from the research?
  • Strategies: What can we do to make the most of these opportunities?
  • Status: Are we already doing this? Do we need to action it now or later?
  • Actions: How are we going to make this happen?
  • Responsibility: Who is responsible to make this happen?
  • Target date: By when do we want to do this?
  • Resources: Do we have the capacity and resources (staff, time and money) to achieve this?

Before you finish the session make sure everyone in the room reviews the plan and shares what they think might be missing.

4. Next steps and check ins

After your session, follow up to thank everyone for their time and to share the final action plan (including any tweaks or changes made). Make sure everyone knows what their roles and responsibilities are.

Stay in touch with those who are responsible for delivering actions to make sure they’re on track to meet the target dates set. Book check-in meetings at intervals that work for you.

Schedule a follow-up action-planning session six months from now to monitor progress, celebrate your successes, re-prioritise and plan for the coming year ahead.

Download the template