Happy New Year, we hope you had a peaceful and fun end of 2016.

And welcome to 2017, a year that seems to be shaping up as one of global disruption.  Tensions are rising around the world, people are still fleeing in fear, countries are becoming more insular, there is a prediction of a Recession in Australia, and nobody knows what’s going to happen in the USA, UK, Europe, China, and just about everywhere else.

Whatever lies ahead though, changes are coming and now is an important time to think about the future. Organizations, teams, families, and each of us personally should take some time to consider where we’re at now, and what our Probable and Preferred Futures might be.

For more than 20 years, we’ve been using a range of Imagineering methods to help organizations and individuals do just that.  We’ve written about this in previous Brain Bite eLetters – Imagineering is the process of Imagining the future, and Engineering it into reality.  You can refresh yourself on the method by reading Bill’s blog from July 2016.

So before you get fully back into the usual routine this year here’s what we suggest.

  1. Take a good look around and create an image of what you see – your Current Situation.  Draw it out as shown in the blog above.  How are things looking now, what’s happening, what’s working, what’s not, what do you see coming? Take your time and think deeply and honestly, and if you work as a team, include everyone’s views – don’t try to reach consensus, just acknowledge we all see some things differently.
  2. Now look into the future and draw an image of your Probable Future, the future you’ll have if you continue acting and performing as you are now, or as your current plans indicate.  Look out at least a year or two, but preferably look further, say five or even ten years.  What do you see there, have things gone as you hoped, what events happened that you didn’t figure on, have you achieved the success you want?  Again be honest.
  3. Now once again look into the future and this time draw an image of your Preferred Future.  And you can be creative, and do look out five years at least. If you could have your wishes granted, what would you like your future to be, what markets have you opened up, what career have you got, what successes have you achieved.  And if you work as a family or team be open to all ideas.  Be bold and aspirational but also be a bit realistic, this IS the future you want, not a totally unrealistic fairytale ending.
  4. Having done these three images, now the work really starts. Visualizations are just stage one in Imagineering, now you need to see and explore the Gap between where you are now and your Probable Future, AND the vision you have as your Preferred Future. What needs to be done, what barriers are in the way, what skills are needed?
  5. Seeing the Gap as clearly as possible is vital, as now your challenge is to develop strategies and actions to engineer your Preferred Future into reality.  Do you need to update your corporate or team goals; what values or business strategies need to change, be dropped, or be added; what steps need to be taken to get where you want to go; is there any personal or professional development you need to do?

If you take some time now to follow these steps you will be better placed to achieve your future.  We are currently in the UK working on a number of projects, and a few days after we get back, we’ll again be with another client for two days facilitating their future strategy.

In this case it is the Board and Executive Team of a major NFP organization, and we’ll start with the visualization activity, and then spend the weekend developing strategies and actions to close the Gap so they achieve the future they want for their people, their clients, and the organization.

And small teams, families, and individuals can also Imagineer using all sorts of methods from Mind Maps and Vision Boards, to Scenario Writing and Lifescapes.

The key to success is doing it, now – before you go much further.

So all the very best with 2017, and if the team at Mindwerx can assist with anything please email us at team@mindwerx.com.  We facilitate all sorts of future thinking sessions, from Creative Blitzs and our 90-Day Innovation Challenges to fully tailored executive strategic planning retreats. https://mindwerx.com/facilitated-solutions/  We would be delighted to help you achieve your Preferred Future.

Bill Jarrard