Future Search
- An engaging large group conference created by Marvin Weissbord and Sandra Janoff


Model for involvement


It is possible to involve groups in a change, even when completely conflicting interests are opposed to each other. The secret is to use the conference method Future Search, which aims to bring together different groups around a change to find "common ground" - the least common denominator that everyone can agree on ...

Future Search is a conference program designed to kick-start a change process in a company or organization.
The aim of the conference is to increase the employees' maturity for change by honoring the old, increase awareness that change is necessary and urgent and affects every person in the room, find a pleasurable, engaging vision and then take concrete action.
Future Search should only be used if the management team wants high involvement from the organization, but can then be a strong part of a well-planned Step 4 in John P. Kotter's eight-step plan for organizational change. Properly done, employees at the conference can become very committed change agents throughout the organization.
The set-up in brief: For two and a half days, a large number (up to a few hundred) of employees are gathered, representatively selected from all levels and from the entire organization. During the days, they work with a recurring flow from individual to small group discussions and service to the entire auditorium.
You take a first step in history, to identify the positive parts of the past that are important to preserve, move on to today's challenge, look into the future, to find an engaging vision to strive for, and finally look at the gap that exists between the current organization and working methods and the new vision. After processing some of the key issues that become prominent, the conference management finally hands over the further work to the organization and the management team, among other things through the various working groups that were formed during the conference.

Suitable for...

  • For involvement when the management really wants to build a commitment in their organization by those who work in the organization and who meet customers and suppliers every day contribute to co-creating a direction forward for a greater transformation.

Less suitable for...

  • Roll-outs of centrally decided changes where the opportunity to influence is small
  • Rationalization projects (cuts often arouse strong emotions that complicate engagement work)

Keep in mind that...

  • Before involvement using Future Search, the Change Project platform needs to be developed
  • After the direction forward has been set, continued involvement around the way forward should be made to facilitate implementation
  • The implementation should be planned and implemented so that the new direction is really realized
  • After implementation, the new working methods / roles / processes should be introduced in existing control documents

Read more about these steps here