Designing scenarios with Future Search

by Augusto Cuginotti

I’ve just came back from a training with the founders and directors of the Future Search Network, Marvin and Sandra, and apart from the Future Search itself, we explored the role of the facilitator when planning and hosting meetings that matter. The experiences are shared in the book Don’t Just Do Something, Stand There – I wrote a review on Facebook here.

During the Future Search we had a moment of designing the future and presenting to the group: the topic chosen in our simulated conference was the future of Stansted Airport and the city where it stays in times of infrastructure expansion.

Back home and reading a bit more of Theory U, I challenge myself to see how much of the vision of the future that we created was really connected to what wanted to emerge or just the downloaded ideas of the group altogether. How much would that make a difference?

To allow system innovations, we do want to have the ability to work from the future rather than towards it. Can any designed scenario be something one can backcast from? That goes back to the search here… how can we converge a scenario-based search and design that incorporates the multi-stakeholder dimension (check my draft Participatory Backcasting from Principles) and the creation of principles that are both innovative and create the boundaries for a well-informed action plan?

The structure of an intervention like this would definitely depend on many factors, so hard to generalize in a few lines. Discussion going on by a group that both knows the Natural Step and Future Search is related to when and how to make them work well together.