Lateral thinking & policy writing


Archive club policy working group (archives in background waiting for a new permanent home at Paganel School)

There’s a lot of building work going on at Paganel School, not least the refurb of Paganel Archives room.  It’s at moments like these when we are forced to take stock, think about what we’re doing and why – a good time to write that Archives Collections Policy that somehow never got written.

Policy writing can seem a dull, time-comsuming task (which is why it probably didn’t get done in the first place), and how can you write a pertinent policy collaboratively without boring everyone?  Who better than Edward de Bono to help out with our lateral thinking to make sure we at least have a draft policy that matches our ambition?

So here’s what happened. We used random entry idea generation starting with BACON

Some words from that:

  • Pork
  • Gelatine
  • Omega 3
  • Peach
  • Pig
  • Trotters
  • Protein
  • Fat
  • Food

We took one word and repeated, this time associating it with the idea, collection policy We took the word FOOD:

  • Shopping list
  • Ingredients
  • Food types – protein, calcium
  • Nutritional value
  • Foodbank
  • Instructions/ recipes
  • Yucky

Then we took one of these words to develop some Collection policy ideas – FOODBANK

  • Helping lives – food for thought – for everyone
  • Targeting people most in need, thinking about what’s most important
  • Sharing events
  • Use and keep, store and save
  • Main changes – how to make them, record them

Now the really exciting bit – a Draft Collections policy mission statement, written collaboratively in under an hour, and you can see a trace of that process etched into it.  If you’ve not followed all of what’s just happened, don’t worry – that’s just what lateral thinking, de Bono style, is like!

Archives Collections Policy Mission Statement

Paganel Archives will seek to acquire material which is of historical interest but is in danger of neglect, loss or destruction. We’re interested in our school and its history, conserving and making accessible material and stories relating to:

  • Significant changes at the school
  • Teaching and other staff at the school
  • Students, their lives and their experiences at school and how Paganel effects their lives
  • Stories from the wider school community – parents, siblings and other people connected to our school

Paganel Archives is committed to sharing our stories locally and beyond.  We are committed to working collaboratively, supporting events and work within the school and other heritage organisations like Birmingham Libraries, Weoley Castle Ruins, and National Archives UK.


There’s still a bit of work – we’ll use National Archives Guidelines to help write the rest, with maybe some help from Tufts to implement – but the framework is there, thanks to de Bono and our wonderful archive club.


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