The big idea
Using a future perfect approach to planning helps to achieve a shared vision of the future. It is a form of time travel that encourages you to consider preferred futures and their potential impact on what you are doing now. The process involves scenario planning, which is designed to generate a range of plausible futures to move towards a preferred vision of the future. It is a collective and creative approach that moves people out of their more usual focus on present and short-term problems.
The purpose of using futures search is to allow organisations and/or communities to learn more about themselves and their aspirations by bringing everyone together. Together you create a preferred view of the future, which in turn generates practical action planning for how to get there. This approach generally has three uses (Weisbord & Janoff, 2000):
- It supports those involved in creating and acting upon a shared future vision for their business or community
- It enables those involved to discover shared intentions and take responsibility for their own plans
- The events can help groups implement a shared vision that already exists
It is probably best known through its use as part of the Olympic Games preparation in Sydney and by Shell Petroleum.
The tool takes you through the scenario planning process to help you think about different possible futures for your business. You start by reviewing the past, then assess the present and finally look at the future. If you enjoy storytelling, this is a great activity for you. It works best with a group of people and ideally you need to set aside a day to work together.