Stuart A. Umpleby







Department of Management Science

The George Washington University

Washington, DC 20052







May 28, 2004







A report on a demonstration in a graduate class at the Faculty of Economics

University of Sarajevo, Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, May 28, 2004









On May 28, 2004, Stuart Umpleby conducted a demonstration of the Participatory Strategic Planning procedure developed by the Institute of Cultural Affairs.  The participants were graduate students in Prof. Aziz Sunje's decision-making class in the Faculty of Economics of the University of Sarajevo in Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina.  The Participatory Strategic Planning (PSP) process involves five steps:

  1. Operating Vision
  2. Underlying Contradictions
  3. Strategic Directions

4.      Systematic Actions

  1. Implementation Timeline


Each step of the PSP process uses the Consensus Workshop method. This method entails five steps:

  1. Context
  2. Brainstorm
  3. Cluster
  4. Name
  5. Resolve


About 35 students participated in the exercise.  The exercise was conducted in English.  The purpose of the exercise was both to demonstrate group facilitation methods, to learn what Bosnian students are thinking about the future of their country and to encourage the students to use such methods for improving the performance of organizations in Bosnia.


Five focus questions, all related to the future of Bosnia, were suggested. 

  1. How can we promote social, political, and economic integration in Bosnia?
  2. How can we promote the economic development of Bosnia?
  3. Sarajevo as an international city
  4. How to create a common urban-rural culture?
  5. How can Bosnian expatriates help Bosnia?


The students chose as a focus question, How can we promote the economic development of Bosnia?


Due to limited time only the first three steps in the Participatory Strategic Planning process were conducted in this class.  When a planning exercise is conducted with a business or government agency, usually it is conducted during a weekend, often in a "retreat" setting, when there is more time.  Ideally people from outside the organization are also involved particularly during the final parts of the planning activity.  These people can relate their experiences with similar problems, suggest alternative actions, and provide sources of needed materials or skills.  In addition outside observers may be impressed with the planning exercise and decide to conduct one in their organizations.







Low unemployment

Increase of employment

More chances for employment of young people

More jobs

Unemployment rate 10-15%

New Jobs

More employment

Many new jobs

Chance for everyone to get FIRST job


More investment

Increase of foreign investment

Self-sustainable producion

Growth of family businesses

Need for a few big companies in different parts of the country

More domestic investments

On-going development

More “green-field” investment

More technology investment


Higher living standard

Bigger salaries

$15,000 GNP per capita

Better standard of living

No poor people


Political stability

Lower political party power

No bureaucracy

Political stability


Opportunities for innovators

Understanding creative minds

More independent people


Improved infrastructure

Longer motorway

Highways expanded


Improvements in education system

Investment in young people/ education


Independent macroeconomic policy

No currency board


Political engagement

More young people must decide the future


No corruption

Efficient legal system


Tourism paradise



EU our future

War criminals in jail


Revision of privatization process (state companies)


Improvements in health system


Beautiful nation

More beautiful girls

More smart men

BiH – Brazil 3:0 World Cup 2006 in Germany





Nationalism still strong

Too many people do not know what their native country is

Higher education law was not approved by parliament

Rule of nationalist parties

Old national dreams

Nationalists in government

Gap between nations

“Where do we belong?” mentality

This is Balkans


Wrong people in some positions

Decision-makers are politicians not experts

Too many chiefs, too few Indians

Lack of political willingness

Lack of assertive young people

Lack of skilled people in place

Lack of experts in government

Positions assigned by favors not skills


Too many outside interests


Bosnians must make decisions, not foreigners

IMF and World Bank

Too many foreigners

Interests of international community

Incompetent EU politicians hold power

Prejudices of foreigners


Lack of money for investment

Not enough support from the banks

High interest rates for investments

High price for financial capital

Currency board (2)

Not enough investments in infrastructure


Constraining legal environment

Lack of motivation for businesses

Government system which does not function

Political situation

Discouraging legal regulations


Corruption (3)


Corrupt legal system


Lack of assertiveness

Old, bad habits of Bosnian people

Lack of interest in change in general


Post-war obstacles to future development

Mines (2)


Lack of vision

No true leader


No country branding policy / campaign

Not enough will to define Bosnian identity


Lack of legislation in many fields



Not enough participatory decision-making

Lack of such kind of practice (e.g., this workshop)


Insufficient luck

Bagic injured








Better educated young people

In case of lack of local (domestic) experts, bring specialists from abroad

New education system

Investing in education

Give young, clever, educated men a chance to create

Give young, clever, educated women a chance to create

Find capable leaders

More involvement of young people in decision-making processes


Fiscal and monetary sovereignty

Free currency flow

Currency board down

CB of BiH must bring money home

Decrease interest rate

Decrease interest rate to stimulate private business

Positive inflation rate


New concept for BiH

Experts in government

Change the government system

BiH without entities

No entities

Single economic space


Positive country branding

Make a Bosnian nation as one great nation

Promote ecotourism

Put BiH and its citizens into first place

State interests prior to national interests

Public opinions to be counted


Social development

Publicize good examples

Motivate local people for decision-making

Public assessment of achieved results

Anti-nationalism campaign

Increase responsibility


Support small and medium-sized businesses

Business incubators

Positive business legislation

Reduce imports, buy domestic products

Open new work places


Anticorruption agency

More controlling bodies

Increase transparency

The truth


Improved government administration

Smart governing tactics

Supportive state

Smaller administration


Orientation toward the future

Total recall (a new beginning)

Investments in infrastructure


Improve the legal system

Improve the system of laws


Hard work

Will to succeed


Fulfillment of conditions to enter the EU


Many brain surgeries

Marry a Japanese

Send Bagic to Reumal

Chicks for free

Buy new passport

Demonstrations, demonstrations, demonstrations


In this class there was a group of students who liked to make jokes.  As a result the last cluster of ideas under Vision, Contradictions, and Strategies includes some whimsical suggestions.  The conversation was lively, serious, and jovial.





Umpleby, S.,  Medvedeva, T. and Oyler, A. “The Technology of Participation as a Means of Improving Universities in Transitional Economies,”  World Futures, Vol. 6, Nos. 1-2, pp. 129-136.


Umpleby, S. and  Oyler, A.  “A Global Strategy for Human Development:  The Work of the Institute of Cultural Affairs,”  Proceedings of the annual meeting of the International Society for the Systems Sciences, Crete, Greece, July 7-11, 2003.