Change is challenging to navigate, particularly when organizations have a culture that is past or present oriented. One way organizations can approach change is by setting its sights on the future and trying to understand what change is necessary to be viable for the future, and what change is unnecessary and wasted time and energy. One way to do this is by experiencing a foresight method workshop that gets people out of the details of their jobs, and free to look ahead.
A workshop in a foresight method, such as trend mapping, is a great way to help individuals throughout an organization, not just top level leaders, to understand how to prepare for the future and navigate change effectively. Involving a cross section of people is important because the future is no longer going to be navigated by experts solving problems, but by the collaboration of various levels of individuals working together to apply their skills with their passions to imagine a better future (Weisbord, 1992). The vision for the future is going to be insufficient if developed by one or two top level leaders detached from the details understood by all levels, but it will be developed through the foresight work of many people and the visions they bring to the table (Hamel & Prahalad, 2007).
A foresight workshop utilizing trend maps provides the participants with clarity on what futures are possible as well as probable, and allows them to wrestle with the question, “if this happens, how will it effect us?” Trend maps open up the minds of participants, and free them to imagine the possibilities. Since the future will be created by building a rich picture of all possibilities (Bell & Tunnicliff, 1996), allowing various people throughout an organization wrestle with this question allows for a broader perspective on the impact of possible futures.
Bell, M., & Tunnicliff, G. (1996). Future search for stakeholders. Management Development Review, 9(1), 13–16. http://doi.org/10.1108/09622519610181711
Hamel, G., & Prahalad, C. K. (2007). Competing for the future (Nachdr.). Boston, Mass: Harvard Business School Press.
Weisbord, M. R. (Ed.). (1992). Discovering common ground: how future search conferences bring people together to achieve breakthrough innovation, empowerment, shared vision, and collaborative action (1st ed). San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler.