A participatory strategy process for the Landesarchiv Nordrhein-Westfalen

Denny Muller
Nordrhein Westfalen I Image: Facade Landesarchiv NRW/kundn.de


As the memory of the state, the Landesarchiv NRW has a special and extremely important function for society. Among other things, it supports public authorities in the administration of written records, takes over and preserves written and archival records and makes its holdings accessible to society.

At the same time, the institution is also always concerned with its future. For it finds itself in an environment of macro-developments and trends in which various challenges need to be addressed, such as digitalisation, shortage of specialists or climate change. Thus, the Landesarchiv NRW has set out to develop a strategy.


"Through the combination of a strategic, analytical approach and a participatory process, actori has helped us develop a future-proof strategy with a strong focus on implementation."

Dr. Frank Bischoff, President of the State Archives NRW


A participative strategy process that thinks along with the implementation In order to give structure and direction to the further development of the institution, six thematic fields were first identified and elaborated together with the State Archives NRW, including "innovation and further development" and "indexing and provision services", among otehrs. For this purpose, a wide range of data was analysed and a series of interviews as well as a staff survey were conducted. In addition, the managers of the institution developed a vision for the National Archives. The development process combined in particular an analytical view from the outside, a participatory involvement of the organisation itself and an implementation-oriented strategy. This was based on the "To-By-By" methodology: To (strategic goal that qualitatively indicates what is to be achieved), by (time frame for achieving the goal) and by (concrete measures). Employee surveys, interviews and numerous workshops were used to continuously bring perspectives from the organisation into the process and ensure broad involvement. The combination of to-be-by and a participatory process proved to be extremely valuable when it comes to backing up strategic goals with measures in a coordinated and structured way.

Added Value

  • Thanks to the new strategy, there is a prioritisation of long-term issues independent of the "day-to-day business".
  • The To-By-By method has helped LAV to maintain a strong implementation focus, including clear responsibilities, despite the broad topic.
  • Staff accept the strategy because it was developed jointly.
  • The strategy will improve coordination between decentralised and central organisational units.
  • The identification of all staff with the organisation is strengthened due to the formulation of a common vision and the alignment of the strategy with this vision.

Source: To-By-By-method: Dr. Philipp Engelhardt (St. Gallen).


The project was implemented by Dr. Sebastian Lücke, Consultant, Franziskus Linsmann, Project Management, Frank Schellenberg, Managing Director.

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