Strategic Planning and Action Planning

Future search and traditional strategic planning produce action

MCPL photos 5-12 group A 188When your group faces a pivotal moment, a future search is a big, bold way to chart a path. Consensus has extensive experience with future search conferences, as well as with more traditional strategic planning processes.

A future search gets people reflecting the whole system in the room for about two days. There are no speeches or experts other than the participants. The facilitators guide the process, but participants create the content and decide what it means. The result of a future search is an action plan built upon common ground.

In 1993, Consensus held the first community-wide future search. Marvin Weisbord, co-creator of the process, wrote about the event in his book, “Discovering Common Ground.”



Examples of future searches:

  • Monroe County Public Library, 2012. The library faced rapid changes in its operating environment. Its leaders wanted robust public engagement and to truly focus on the future.
  • Washington State Library, 2006. We worked with the library to conduct four, one-day future search conferences around the state. They served as the foundation for the state library’s five-year plan. [Washington State Library five-year plan: Washington State Library – five-year plan]