FUTURE WORKSHOP

Is a structured and very communicative group deliberation where participants imagine, experiment and design desired future conditions.

Level of participation

Co-Decision

Duration of participation process

Preparation:1 month for invitations, venues, catering
Implementation: 1 – 3 days
Follow-up: Several months for the implementation with the groups

Target group size

<25 people

Costs

$$

Human resources needed

At least one person for preparation, moderation and documentation. The bigger the group the more you need moderators.

The method: what is it, when to use it and what outcome to expect

In a future workshop, participants develop solutions to a topic or a problem in a creative atmosphere. Everyone interested in the topic, regardless of origin, education or profession, can help shape the future of the specific topic. Stretching over one to three days and divided into three distinct stages (critic, fantasy, implementation), the future workshop activates creative impulses and contributes to the development of new approaches, solutions or perspectives.

This method is especially useful for policy development, urban planning, project management, or organizational development.

The process: how to conduct it in an in-person setting or online using a PC/laptop with video option

The method follows three phases:
1. Critique stage: You need to contextualize the topic which will be discussed during the process. Then, you provide the participants with some guidance about the duration of the stage, the method used to investigate the topic critically and thoroughly (ex. Small group discussions, brainstorming…). Afterwards, you document the discussion, cluster the various critique points and select (prioritization) some to be discussed in the next stage,
2. Fantasy stage: In this stage, all participants try to work out a vision of the future, to draw a picture of future possibilities. Ask the participants (in small groups) to reformulate the previously collected criticisms in positive statements. Let the participants develop their own ideas/utopias. Whether the ideas are really feasible should not matter. Then, Invite the groups to present their utopias to each other. The various Ideas are listed (ex. on a flipchart) and elaborated as goals.
3. Implementation: Invite participants to evaluate and prioritize the ideas in regard to their practicability. In small groups, the participants translate the developed ideas into practical measures and steps in order to achieve the vision. For each group, an action plan is developed with a division of works and responsibilities (who does what until when).

Blended participation

1st and 2nd phase can be held online in break-out sessions, and participants can leave their feedback on online white boards. The 3rd phase can rely on online voting tools to select the most suitable solutions or be organized face-to-face (to increase commitment).

Digital communication

  • Communication platform for the event: Teams, Zoom, Webex
  • Mural or Miro Board are useful tools to document the process, idea collection and results.

Good to know

  • In order to enhance the participation and the quality of the discussions, be sure to invite various groups of actors who have a direct interest in the topic.¬†
  • As such workshops might have a duration of up to 3 days, you might want to take childcare in charge in order to ease the participation of young parents.
  • You can use incentives (meal and/or a small financial compensation) to attract participants.
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