Innovation: What Futures are Calling to You?

Seth is a motivational speaker and keynote speaker. He uses storytelling and communication exercises to help build strong business communities and ignite positive organizational change.

INTRODUCTION & TEMPLATE

Here is the framework I use to help my clients explore possible futures. I have successfully used it to do long-range strategic planning with organizations that include the Peace Corps, Project Management Institute, NASA IV&V, and others. I hope you find it useful, too.

The big question: What futures are calling you that require your participation to emerge?*

I use this question to drive an entire workshop. Here’s how I break it down into bite-size chunks:

Futures “call” to us three ways. We sense them through:

  1. Pain – Wherever we feel a pinch in the current situation, the future is calling for a resolution.
  2. Emerging trends – Forces that have an influence on us, positive or negative, ask for a future that embraces their impact.
  3. Visions of new capacity – Once in a while we sense a whole new dimension that is accessible, something previously unvisited.

As we identify the futures calling to us, it is helpful to explore how we must change in order to bring them into existence. I find it useful to look at four areas:

  1. Behavior
  2. Business Processes
  3. Policy
  4. Partnerships

TEMPLATE

WHAT FUTURES ARE CALLING YOU THAT REQUIRE YOUR PARTICIPATION TO EMERGE?

Where are we feeling the pain?

  • What can we imagine that would successfully resolve this?
  • What would we have to do differently?

What emerging trends do we need to consider?

  • What can we imagine that would optimize these trends for our proposition?
  • What would we have to do differently?

What new capabilities can we imagine? Out-of-the-box thinking encouraged!

  • What would we have to do differently?

For all the questions above, when you speculate on what we would have to do differently, consider:

  • Policies
  • Behaviors
  • Business Practices
  • Partnerships

[*]For more on this topic, see Senge, Peter, and Scharmer, C. Otto, and Jaworski, Joseph, and Flowers, Betty Sue, Presence: Human Purpose and the Field of the Future, the Society of Organizational Learning, 2004

©2003 Seth Kahan. Reprint with attribution allowed.