We have methods, processes and tools to scout what could happen in the future and how it might affect your organization. This learning is not enough to transform any organization or situation. You also have to understand the aspirations people have for their future. When you can connect the opportunities of the future with the aspirations people share, you can lead real and lasting change. The Institute for Alternative Futures calls this practice aspirational futures. You can read about our full range of Futures Consulting Services in our brochure.
IAF has identified four overlapping and reinforcing phases in our practice of aspirational futures. In most consulting engagements, we use a mix of methods to guide you through the full cycle of aspirational futures. We customize our approach and methods to best fit your current situation and deliver the outcomes you need today to create the future you want.
Learning about Your Future
We bring you compelling images of alternative futures that challenge your assumptions. We rely on leading-edge futures research and our integrated knowledge of diverse fields to show you patterns of possibilities where you may only see constraints. We detect threats that may lie just outside your awareness. We see surprises that create discontinuous change. We ask provocative questions to put a new frame around your expertise, world views, and current practices. And we help you stay alert to continuous changes in your environment. This is why we often hear from our clients, you changed the way we think.
Discovering Your Aspirations
Through our practices of dialogue, we engage your aspirations. We use the future to create a safe space to try on new ideas and attitudes. People are never as bound by their reality as they may believe. They may need to be reminded of their own history of personal bests and their core values. They may need to stop and listen better to one another. They often need to trust more in the good intentions expressed in a shared vision. This is why we often hear, you brought us together.
Choosing a Preferred Future
When others do strategic planning, they start inside your organization with what you want to do. We start with a keen awareness of changing conditions in your external environment and then consider what you need to do to align with emerging opportunities. We begin with your vision and then ask, what is the most audacious and yet achievable goal you could set. We guide you to wisely choose a preferred future. We value collaboration focused on results. We ask who will be needed to initiate these changes and then work to bring them into the decision making process. We ask which strategies you will need before proposing tactics you might use. Then we help you determine the first steps toward changes that signal the end of business as usual. This is why we often hear, you encouraged us to dream big.
Through our experience in change leadership, we know any future worth creating will be difficult. Some of what we understand about leading change comes from watching and reflecting on failures. Too often what leaders believe to be failure is just an opportunity to learn how to succeed in their new context. You may need a new business model, a revised organizational structure, different strategies or new ways of working together as partners in your shared vision. We care about your success and will be your coach for as long as you need us to gain the momentum for change. This is why we often hear, you helped us take the important first steps toward our preferred future.