Future search

Here at ZAMADZI we have a lot to thank to our colleagues at Perspectivity who introduced us to the concept of Future Search conferences.

In fact, you might remember that our very first public event was a Future Search conference that took place in Tete in 2017. So, what is Future Search? In the authors’ own words:

Future Search is a principle-based PLANNING MEETING that helps people transform their capability for action very quickly. The meeting is task-focused. It brings together 60 to 100 people in one room or hundreds in parallel rooms.

Future Search brings people from all walks of life into the same conversation – those with authority, resources, expertise, information and need. They meet for 20 hours spread across three days. People tell stories about their past, present and desired future. Through dialogue they discover their common ground. Only then do they make concrete action plans.

The meeting design comes from theories and principles tested in many cultures for the past 50 years. It relies on mutual learning among stakeholders as a catalyst for voluntary action and follow-up. People devise new forms of cooperation that continue for months or years.

Future Searches have been run in every part of the world and in every sector of society. Future Search Principles:

  • Get the “whole system” in the room. Invite a significant cross-section of all parties with a stake in the outcome – those with authority, resources, expertise, information and need.
  • Explore the “whole elephant” before seeking to fix any part. Get everyone talking about the same world. Think globally, act locally.
  • Put common ground and future focus front and center while treating problems and conflicts as information, not action items.
  • Encourage self-management and responsibility for action by participants before, during and after the Future Search.

Perspectivity prepared a couple of clips to explain the main ideas behind a Future Search Conference:

Portuguese version here.

Portuguese version here.

After the Future Search conference in Tete, Perspectivity prepared a short movie about the event: