Discerning Visions that Inspire Great Work

Visioning retreats are intense experiences of listening, generative conversation and strategic thinking to discern what the future requires.

Listening deeply during the retreat requires courage, candor and trust. Generative conversations help make sense of the difficult and unresolved issues that define and constrain any preferred future an organization might seek. In visioning, leaders use strategic thinking as they define the strategic opportunities they should pursue and the priorities for their energy and resources.

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First, find your foresight friends

Pressed to explain why some associations have abandoned impressive foresight initiatives, I said they couldn’t spread the benefits of foresight across their organizations: you must find your champions and allies.

Too often people assign the failure of foresight projects to resistance to change. I believe the root cause is failing to bring other leaders along on the journey into foresight. People distrust “oracle on high” pronouncements; they are more likely to trust their own sensemaking about the implications and effective responses.

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Breaking the Past’s Lock on Our Future

The future is always layered over the past.

That’s the insight that has stayed with me two weeks after the Association of Professional Futurists October 4-6 annual gathering in Pittsburgh. While this futurist gathering themed around the Resurgent City and the Future of Urban Environments showcased local examples of what the near future might be, that future clearly struggles to rise above the limitations of existing infrastructure and beliefs.

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