What is Future Search?
Future search brings people from all walks of life into the same conversation - those with resources, expertise, formal authority
and need. They meet for 16 hours spread across three days. People tell stories about their past, present and desired future.
Through dialogue they discover their common ground. Only then do they make concrete action plans.
The meeting design comes from theories and principles tested in many cultures for the past 50 years. It relies on mutual learning
among stakeholders as a catalyst for voluntary action and follow-up. People devise new forms of cooperation that continue
for months or years.
Future search is a PLANNING MEETING that helps people transform their capability for action very quickly. The meeting is task-focused.
It brings together 60 to 80 people in one room or hundreds in parallel rooms.
- Sandra Janoff: Co-Director -- Email firstname.lastname@example.org
- Marvin Weisbord: Co-Director -- Email email@example.com
- Jennifer Neumer: Program Manager -- Email firstname.lastname@example.org
- Ronald Lippitt: Future Search derives from well-researched theories on the conditions under which diverse groups will cooperate (Weisbord,
et al 1992). Our main sources of inspiration are two. One is Ronald Lippitt's and Eva Schindler-Rainman's large-scale community
futures conferences in 88 cities, states, counties in North America. During the 1970's they assembled as many as 300 people
at a time, a vertical slice of an entire community. In a day or two people would commit to many new projects considered unthinkable
a few days before (Schindler-Rainman & Lippitt, 1980).
- Eva Schindler-Rainman
- Eric Trist: A second major source is the work of social scientists Eric Trist, an Englishman, and Fred Emery, an Australian. In 1960 Emery
and Trist made a major breakthrough in meeting design working with the merger of two aircraft engine companies in England.
They sought to apply the research of the late social psychologist Solomon Asch (1952), whose studies pointed to a set of conditions
for effective dialogue. People would accept each other's reality, said Asch, if they could all talk about the same world and
experience that all had the same psychological needs, for food, shelter, security, and meaning. They could then begin to treat
"my facts" and "your facts" as "our facts", opening the door to effective planning.
- Fred Emery
- Kurt Lewin: From Lippitt and Schindler-Rainman we learned to get the whole system in the room and focus on the future, not problems and
conflicts. From Trist and Emery we learned the importance of getting everybody to talk about the same world and having people
manage their own planning (Weisbord, et al, 1992). The name "future search" honors both sets of ancestors. We also share with
all of them a commitment to democratic ideals and their embodiment in the action research tradition of the famed social psychologist
Kurt Lewin (G.W. Lewin, ed. 1948).
- Future Search Network: Future searches affect every part of society - social, economic and technical. Future Search Network is an active participant
in the following sectors ... * Business -- Banking, Manufacturing and Technology... * Communities -- Including Housing, Employment,
Transportation * Congregations -- Religious Communities * General Education -- Private, Public, Elementary and Secondary Schools
* Higher Education -- Colleges, Universities and Technical Institutes * Environment -- Agriculture, Conservation and Land
Use * Government -- County, State and Federal Agencies * Healthcare -- Hospitals, HMO's, Nursing and Mental Health * Human
Services -- Aging, Child Care, Cultural Institutions, Domestic Violence, Family Planning, Museums, Welfare Reform, Youth
- InterAmerican Development Bank
- Kahuku Hospital: Oahu, Hawaii
- Future Search Sponsors: Hundreds of organizations, institutions and communities have sponsored future searches. This list provides their names and