'I faced the challenges of giving the local landscape a new impetus. And it worked! In a Future Search with 63 parties!’
Christiaan van der Kamp, alderman for Midden-Delfland (senior local politician)

An interactive planning process used world-wide 
More than 3000 people have attended this workshop since 1991. They have come from Africa, Asia, Australia, Canada, the Caribbean, Europe, India, South America and the United States. People from every sector, public and private, have gone on to stimulate positive social, technological and economic cooperation around the globe. The workshop goal is to give participants the tools, insights and support to manage successful future searches.

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

The workshop is built around a simulated future search. The simulation is 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 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.

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.

Basic Principles and Techniques
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.

A stopmotion film about the method of FutureSearch (2.58):