Our organizations, programs and services do not thrive in a vacuum; most collaborate with, or serve, other people and organizations. These other stakeholders can include clients, patients, board members, member organizations, or programs and organizations that contribute to the delivery of our goals. When conducting research or evaluation to inform decision-making, organization staff input is very valuable, but does not represent the whole picture; often, community stakeholders can give powerful insights on an organization’s effectiveness. A good example of incorporating community insights in a project is the current strategic planning efforts being carried out by the Austin, Minnesota school district. Superintendent Candace Raskin approached the Improve Group about the district’s desire to develop a strategic planning process that would set a well-informed course for Austin schools for the next 3 to 5 years. From the onset, the school district understood the value of making this process inclusive and soliciting the opinions and suggestions of not only the teachers, board and staff, but also parents, students, community organizations and other institutions providing education or serving youth in the community. Their opinions and suggestions help identify priorities and guide district administration as they make their decisions for the future. Please click on this link to a recent article from the Post Bulletin of Rochester, MN to read a brief account of the current status of the Austin strategic planning process. Survey: Austin residents are satisfied with schools' academics.