Future Search Network Activities 

Large Scale Projects

Future Search Network has the unique capability to help plan and manage interactive, large group initiatives involving hundreds or even thousands of people. We employ principles and techniques appropriate to each meeting’s purpose. We can recruit dozens of dedicated facilitators worldwide on short notice.  Because our members subscribe to a shared set of values and principles, they find it easy to cooperate with each other and with sponsors. Many members have years of experience with system transformation.  Here are system-wide initiatives FSN has undertaken:

Austin Community College, Austin, TX
Five campus Future Searches plus capstone Future Search involving more than 300 people in developing a strategic plan for the college.

The President’s Summit on Volunteerism, Philadelphia, PA
(Chaired by U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell)
FSN facilitators worked with 2,000 participants to develop local action plans for mentoring local youth in large and small, urban and rural towns and cities across the United States. Presidents Clinton, Carter, Bush and many senators were among those who attended.  LINK

Centers for Disease Control, Atlanta, GA
Future Searches for 200 people on community health initiatives were planned and staffed by FSN members in partnership with CDC staff trained in Future Search.

Public School District, Carson City, NV
Eleven Future Searches in 8 schools over a 10 week period created a “bottoms-up” strategic plan in which 1,000 people participated. FSN provided conference coordination and 24 trained facilitators.

Episcopal Diocese of Newark, NJ
Twelve groups, 32 facilitators helped 600 people develop a shared vision of the future.

Regional Planning in Indonesia
A UNICEF sponsored project was initiated to develop a decentralized school system and district-level Future Search capacity.  They first set a nation-wide agenda for decentralization that included investing in community-based education.  A FSN team trained forty facilitators in Jakarta. Teamed with experienced mentors, the newly trained facilitators went to regions around Indonesia and ran Future Searches for local communities. 

A Search for World Class Communities – Berrien County, Southwest Michigan
The Council for World Class Communities invited a group of thirty Future Search Network members to facilitate a series of eight Future Searches in Berrien County Michigan. The work was part of a larger project to heal the wounds and tensions between the communities of St. Joseph and Benton Harbor while engaging communities in the whole region in implementing a shared future for the region. The theme for the project was: “Creating a set of interdependent world-class communities where diversity and inclusion are the foundation, and no one will be left behind.”  This work also included 2 Future Searches for youth in this region.

The “Ripple” Research Project

Future Search Network’s mission is to learn together as members work in communities around the world for whatever people can afford. The “ripple effects” of Future Searches have been widely documented in three editions of Future Search and in articles and books on systems change

We know that many conferences generate cooperative action that continues for months or years, taking on new forms and projects. We know this because many members have written case studies and graduate theses on aspects of Future Search. 

In addition, members are committed to advancing our understanding of what happens before, during and after a Future Search. Their documents form the nucleus of an international archive of experience on Future Search accessible to members through this website.

FSN’s Research Goals

  • Create knowledge about social change that does not now exist;
  • Discover the conditions under which Future Search opens the door to sustaining new structures and processes;
  • Build Future Search Network’s data base for the benefit of all members and their clients;
  • Provide stories and examples that will give us deeper insights as to why Future Search works well for so many people, why some people are able to achieve the outcomes they desire, and under what conditions the successes can be multiplied.  

FSN Refugee Initiative

The European migrant crisis, or the European refugee crisis, is a term given to a period beginning in 2015 when rising numbers of people are arriving in the European Union, travelling across the Mediterranean Sea or overland through Southeast Europe. According to the UN High Commission on Refugees, most of the people arriving in Europe are refugees, fleeing war and persecution in countries such as SyriaAfghanistanIraq and Eritrea. The situation is complex economically, politically and socially for every country involved and there are no easy solutions for those who are seeking help and those who can give help. We know, though, that something must be done to ease this crisis and at the 2015 Learning Exchange in Berlin, Germany, FSN Members decided to take the action of which we were capable. Future Search Network now offers to support refugee organisations and local authorities in Europe, Middle East and USA. Please read the information available here about what Future Search Network is ready, able and willing to do and please join the effort!  Here is how you can get involved. 

Learning Exchange

Members of the Future Search Network from around the world gather annually for a face-to-face 2-day celebration.  

This special event is a unique opportunity for each member to:

  • meet other Future Search practitioners and advocates and hear their stories,
  • share their experience of Future Search and exchange ideas,
  • learn about what we are doing as a Network around the world,
  • reflect on who we are touching through our work,
  • explore how people are using the principles and philosophy of FS in meetings of all shapes and sizes, every day,
  • re-energize their practice and have fun!

Who is it for?

Future Search Network’s Learning Exchange is for anyone who is interested in applying FS principles in their work and their lives. It is not only for those who regularly lead Future Searches. Whether people have experience of many Future Searches – or are still trying to get their first one off the ground – the Learning Exchange is for them. People may even pick up the advice and support they need to help you create your first FS. Specifically, The Learning Exchange is open to members of the FS Network and to practitioners working with the principles of Future Search across other large scale, whole systems approaches to change.

For more information please join us on: