What is Future Search?

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.

Is There a Future Search in Your Future?

Principles and Conditions for Success


Philosophy and Skills

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