Explore goals and wanted outcomes

When you want people to develop new (or improve existing) ideas within a topic, a brief and efficient way of doing so is simply to let them explore a future state where the ideas have already been carried out and shown to their full effect.

Looking into the future, examining the wished result makes it possible to investigate all the advantages that will follow from the result.

  • What will it look like?
  • What will be different from the present situation?
  • Who will do what differently, that will show us it’s the right idea(s)?

It can be quite provocative for some to explore the result even before having the slightest hunch of how to get there. It’s a like starting the event with summing up what has happened during the day, and say thank you for the result by describing in details the effect of the work that has not yet been done. Say what!? Some would probably ignore it and instead hope to wake up soon, perhaps whilst sticking a finger in their coffee or starting to pinch their arms, just to check reality.

Anyway, the invitation in these questions leads to some very interesting scenarios:

  • It clarifies goals – do we really want our ideas to end up with this result?
  • It clarifies wishes and ambitions on all levels – I want, you want, we want.
  • It lets people explore wished scenarios in details without any obstacle thinking, no-can-do comments and other creativity killers.

And that is exactly what this is: creative thinking. It’s not easy, but again; if you formulate your questions right, you help people board an adventurous trip into an attractive future, exploring the effect of these ideas on the fly. It is a round tour on a very detailed level of what will be positively different.

”Examining the future”

< Local >

Round 1 – in the future

Imagine you have reached your wished state according to the topic. Everything is exactly the way you want it, and you can fully enjoy having reached the goal.

  1. Take turns in the group and describe what you are doing in this future that is positively different from today? – Be as specific as possible!
  2. List three specific things that involve you or people close to you.
  3. The listeners make sure to write the three things mentioned by each person on a poster.
Round 2 – back to present

Before this round starts, make sure to bring everybody safely back to present time, for example with a short movie, playful exercise or something else that can be useful as your ”in flight entertainment”.

The aim is to help people make a clear change of scenario – in other words, of their mind-set.


Looking at the list:

  1. What small first (easy, maybe even lazy) steps can be taken in order to get started?
    1. What is the minimum effort we have to do to start moving in the direction of this attractive future state?
  2. Make a list of actions that can be carried out easily (for example on cards, post-it notes etc.).
Round 3 – add on if wanted and if enough time
  1. What next steps can follow up on the first ones?
  2. Make a new list of actions.
Round 4

Create a matrix on a flip-chart:


 Add your steps to the matrix, organised in how easy and fast they can be initiated or implemented.

Round 5

Choose 3-5 initiatives and plan them. Criteria for choosing should fit the theme of the event.

[Example of an action plan here]

”Future flashback”

< Global >


You are meeting again one year from now to celebrate your successes – and at the exact same location – what a coincidence! Actually, if you look closer, people are even dressed the same as last time…

Last time a lot of great ideas and initiatives came out of the event, and this time we celebrate what happened since then. Spread out in the room and get ready for three rounds of celebratory questions. A signal is given for each question, so just follow the instructions shown and stay ready.

Round 1

Instruction: find the person closest to you and make a warm welcome (remember you haven’t seen each other for a whole year).

Exchange the following question:

  1. What are you most proud of having achieved since the last time we met?
  2. What else?
Round 2

Instruction: move around in the room until the signal is given. On signal: look around and find the person closest to you and exchange:

  1. What is the biggest positive difference for you now, compared to before?
  2. What else?
Round 3

Instruction: move around in the room until the signal is given. On signal: look around and find the person closest to you and exchange:

  1. Suppose you had a very important role in making everything you have described a success; what did you do?
  2. How did you manage that?

On signal: return to the present time and to your group Round 4 Instruction: welcome back to present time and back to your groups.

After this enjoyable trip, it’s time to harvest:

  1. What was most useful of what you said?
  2. What inspiring things did you hear?
  3. What next steps have to be taken?