A  Leadership Workshop that brings Future Search online.  

Future Search Training goes Virtual
Since 1991 more than 5,000 people, working in every sector, around the world, have attended the face-to-face workshop known as “Managing A Future Search.” Participants have gone on to stimulate positive social, technological and economic cooperation around the globe. The workshop goal has always been to provide participants the tools, insights and support to manage successful Future Searches. Now we bring you the additional tools and techniques to allow you to run a Future Search in Virtual Space — whether completely on-line or hybrid.

The Technology
We developed Future Search in Virtual Space (FSVS) with Bluescape, a sophisticated, secure, visual platform used globally in large enterprises. We chose to partner with Bluescape (because it’s awesome) and we can provide participants with access to “time lines,” “mind maps,” “creative scenarios,” “common ground,” small group and large group dialogues with all the interactivity of a Future Search meeting. It really is a lovely experience!

Future Search in Virtual Space  – A Unique Opportunity
We know that the principal of “everybody improving whole systems” is transformative. There is so much brokenness in the world today. We are energized about our readiness to respond, enabling people to cross boundaries and address seemingly intractable problems. FSVS offers the opportunity for more and more of us around the planet to participate in the battle against climate change, education inequities, social injustice and more. Imagine taking on these problems while cutting back on our carbon footprint. FSVS provides your sponsor a robust, secure process that works and your participants an online tool they can easily use, with no need to be a trained techie.

Continuing Education (CE) credits are available for this workshop. 

What is a Future Search?

Why Future Search?
Click here to accept our gift of two case studies –  IKEA and the Federal Aviation Administration. If you are intrigued by these high impact, real life applications, you will definitely want to join us!

DATES and TIMES  — The Times below are East Coast United States (ET).  Please use timeanddate.com for your time zone.

This Training is five days, five and a half hours each day:

Dates To Be Announced for June 2022

Workshop agenda includes:

  • Theory, history and dynamics of Future Search.
  • Conditions for Success.
  • Conference planning and implementation.
  • Output and follow-up.
  • Facilitation skills and techniques.
  • World-wide applications and strategies.
  • Customized tools for virtual Future Search applications.

Workshop participants will learn:

  • How to manage a meeting in which the target of change is a whole system’s capability for action now and in the future. 
  • Key issues in matching conference task and stakeholders. 
  • A theory and practice of facilitating large, diverse groups. 
  • How to keep critical choices in the hands of participants. 
  • How freeing yourself from diagnosing and fixing enables diverse groups to come together faster. 
  • Basic principles and techniques that can be used to design many other meetings.
  • Facilitation techniques for using a combined virtual environment including:
    • How to use Zoom to facilitate a Future Search.
    • How to use the Bluescape workspace as a virtual Future Search room.

The workshop is built around a simulated online Future Search, planned by the participants as part of the learning design. The whole group then has a basis for a shared experience with the techniques for building a community, developing a mutual world view, creating desired futures, finding common ground, expanding the range of choices, and moving into action. Included are interactive sessions on theory, history, planning, facilitation and follow-up. All of this from your own workplace in our virtual environment. You will learn everything you need to know about the technology – including tips and tricks for facilitating online!

US$ 3800,  US$ 3600 for FSN members.

Participants will receive:

  • Certification as a Future Search in Virtual Space (FSVS)® Consultant.
  • One year license to the FSVS Future Search Template on the Bluescape® platform. 
  • Access to your own unique Bluescape workspace with Future Search template that is valid for as many Future Searches that you undertake in the year.  
  • No separate user fees for your sponsor and participants.
  • Step-by-step FSVS manual for planning.  
  • Step-by-step FSVS manual for facilitation.
  • Step-by-step support for onboarding participants.
  • FSVS user support.
  • Workshop materials.
  • Community of FSVS practitioners.
  • Reduced Fees: If you work for a non-profit.  Contact fsn@futuresearch.net  

Broad Applications

Future Search can be used to:

Create a shared vision and practical action plans among diverse parties. Devise a plan and gain commitment to implement a vision or strategy that already exists. Initiate rapid action on complex issues where no coordinating structure or shared vision exists

People have applied Future Search in every sector in many cultures. Examples include affordable housing in Santa Cruz, CA, economic development among the Inuit people of North America, AIDS in Bangladesh, more effective business planning in Brazil, business mergers in Germany, sustainable communities in England, strengthening democratic practices in South Africa, regional planning in Indonesia, and education reform across the United States. Future Search Network has hundreds of examples worldwide.

Four key principles underlie the Future Search design:

  • Getting the “whole system” in the room.
  • Exploring the same global context (“whole elephant”) as a backdrop for local action.
  • Focusing on the future and common ground rather than conflicts and problems.
  • Inviting self-management and personal responsibility for action during and after the conference.

These principles, rather than any techniques, account for the widespread success of Future Search. You will learn in depth how they function to help people make better communities and organizations. You also will learn techniques that, taken together, put these principles into action, including self-organizing action groups and the critical interplay between small group tasks and whole conference dialogue

Play video to see Bluescape Virtual Space

What Makes FSVS Unique!

The FSVS Development Team had two goals:

  1. Ensure a genuine, creative translation from face-to-face to virtual.
  2. Ensure the technology is as simple as it can be, so it stays in the background.

These two goals required that we walk through each task meticulously and discover the best method for combining online collaboration with Future Search.

Result:  Every single element of FSVS has been designed rather than lifted, dropped into online or copied from an off-the-shelf model. The FS process and the technology are intertwined. This attention to detail is what makes this process stand out. Essentially, we have preloaded all the design work so that you don’t have to stress about the technology. You are free to focus on the Future Search principles and the dynamics of the group.

You have the blueprint of how to interact with your tech support to ensure that, at all stages, everyone knows what to do and who is responsible. That removes a lot of anxiety in your design process. You don’t have to worry about turning your client or participants into tech experts to be able to participate fully. They can arrive just knowing how to use a laptop computer. The rest is in the process.

Indeed that goes for you too. As facilitators, it can be daunting to think about managing a workshop online. The FSVS training takes you through everything you and your team will need to facilitate a brilliant, smooth Future Search workshop. We make sure that you know how to build a team with clear roles that support you. Applying FSVS, the technology is an enabler and not a barrier to excellent work.

We are excited about the journey we are on with this technology and where it might lead into the future.

FSVS Tech Team:  Michael Donnelly, Allan Kobernick, Shawn Stenberg

For more information please join us on: