Future Search Ebb & Flow

ADLT 625 Change Strategies – 3

It was fascinating to get a taste of facilitating a large group intervention using the Future Search process with our simulated mini conference. Preparing for and facilitating the conference was definitely a way to gain deeper insight into the concepts and process of Future Search as well as large group interventions, in general.

From just reading the book I wondered really how this would work. I did get an overview and the basic concepts/principles. However, I must admit I had some questions and about how the how everything would go and especially flow together. Despite the well written book Future Search with Wiesbord and Janoff sharing as much as possible of their experiences and discoveries, it was my first hand experience of just the parts that we chose that really has taken my understanding to deeper level.

One of the things that struck me about the process is how the participants really provide the content. The FS process is there to bring in the experience and perspectives of the participants and in such a way that very likely broadens the views of the whole group. Of course, it’s possible that some participants perspectives may not change, however, the way it is possible for each person to present their views with all of their reason as well as whatever emotion they have about it, seems to allow the possibility for others to at least consider things they may not have before. It’s not set up that one person or group pushes its own idea on others, but rather FS is a forum for dialogue and the focus on reaching common ground steers away from conflict.

I am looking forward to the Appreciative Inquiry mini conference too. It’s a great opportunity to have mini experiences of a sampling of large group interventions. With Open Space, Future Search, and this week AI, I feel like I have a hint of the flavor of what a full-scale version of one of these would be.

From what I’ve found so far, these processes seem to elicit a fresh energy in the participants. It is the different formats that basically allow participation and a variety of perspectives to be aired and listened to in a respectful way. One of the premises seems to be to trust the innate potential for people at large with varying views and experiences to be able to contribute meaningfully to an area of their interest if given an opportunity.

I hope to have the opportunity to take part in a real live experience of one of these approaches to getting ‘the whole system in the room’…


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1 Response to “Future Search Ebb & Flow”


  1. 1 poohbouncer 9 May 2010 at 11:56 pm

    Your comment about the interventions (all of them) providing a fresh energy really struck me. I think that that is the key in all of the interventions, creating an energy that wasn’t previously there. I would love to use these in my organization and get some new energy flowing. My boss uses the comment, you stagnate, you die, but he doesn’t really have an effective way to get us excited and heading in a new direction. His methods involve forcing or coercing us to do career building things, mostly because they make him look good. We need some fresh energy, myself included.


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