In this post, I will touch one aspect of the stimulation exercise viz. visioning (not those usual platitudes, but something more real and has utility to the community). Both the methods are very similar and rely on the same simple cognition fact that we cannot tell lies backward in time. We can easily build a grandiose of lies as we move forward in time but try doing it backward, we cannot go farther than 2 steps. The methods are
- Ideal Final Result from the TRIZ method portfolio
- Future Backwards from the Cognitive Edge method portfolio
IFR/Ideality as it is popularly known is a combination of 3 things is defined as [Benefits/(Cost + Harm)]
Instead of taking incremental steps forward in time, you take a far reaching jump to sometime in future and assume that the functions/benefits of the community is achieved without any harm and cost to the members. As you move backwards you can notice the number of options/choices increase.
Once you have done this, you search for solutions for intermediates back from the IFR, you can bin time as is convenient to the community
3 questions that should be asked in the same order during this process are
- What is the IFR of my community?
- What is stopping me from achieving that and why?
- How could you make that disappear? What resources are available to help?
Finally you can possibly find other communities that have already solved those problems.
During the process of doing IFR you can actually surface many conflicts that exist between community and members, as IFRs tend to be vastly different, mark them as key opportunities or issues that need resolutions/agreements.
Future Backwards is a complexity based facilitation technique that is used "to increase the number of perspectives that a group can take both on an understanding of their past, and of the range of possible futures. It can be used to discover what entrained patterns of past perception in an organization are determining its future"
In a Future backwards you will have
· Current state (the situation that we are currently in and going backwards what decisions, events and turning points led to it)
· Hell (if Murphy’s law was in full action ("everything that can go wrong, going wrong"), what events can lead to it and what would happen to the situation in a specific time period usually 1-2 years)
· Heaven (if everything was going right, what would the situation look like and what events might lead to it in the period)
· Turning points or Accidents (that can lead from one event to previous i.e. backwards in time)
Like in the picture below
You will start with explaining the current state and drawing key ideas/events. Choose one of the most significant idea/event and keep going back in time identifying prior turning points. This is step 1.
Start from top right to map back from the impossibly extreme heaven and do the same process of mapping backwards turning points possibly towards a past event. This is step 2.
Next start from the bottom right to map back from impossibly extreme hell and do the same process of mapping backwards turning points possibly towards a past event. This is step 3. Time stamps are optional for all the events. Facilitation takes 2-3 hrs with some deep silences in between.
Several outcomes are possible from the above 2 methods that include visions, roadmaps, patterns of entrained thinking, seeing how past influences our future, marked differences in different groups’ understanding of the current state etc.