Futurizing Your Organization
By James L. Morrison

World Future Society Preconference Seminar
Hyatt Regency San Francisco
July 17, 2003 

"Futurizing" your organization—that is, creating an organization that thinks in the future tense, and acts in the present—is a prerequisite for success in a rapidly changing and uncertain world. Every organization—corporate, governmental, and not-for-profit—has to prepare itself for operating in a radically different environment. And that, in turn, requires the organization to change its techniques, its practices and, above all, its culture. This is a process of change that is complex, demanding, and time-consuming.

This course examines the futurizing process from a holistic point of view, covering all aspects from the philosophical to the practical, and drawing on the presenter's experience in the fields of business, the military, and education. Presentations and discussions focus on:

  • Developing an "early warning system" to alert the organization to impending change
  • Creating a planning culture
  • Strategic planning for alternative futures
  • Developing the vision ("Where we want to go, and how we propose to get there")
  • Turning understanding and vision into action
  • Diffusing leadership
  • Rewarding changed behavior

The course program includes preassigned readings (below), presentations, and group exercises aimed at developing a "change agenda" for different organizations. 

The following publications constitute the background reading for the seminar:

  1. Wilson, Ian. "Focusing Our Organizations on the Future: Turning Intelligence into Action." On the Horizon, 5(3), 1997, 1, 3-6.
  2. Wilson, I. "The Practical Power of Vision." On the Horizon, 1996, 4(2), 1, 3–5.
  3. Wilson, I. "Envisioning (and Inventing) the Future." On the Horizon, 1995, 3(3), 1–2, 5.
  4. Morrison, J. L., and Wilson, I. "Analyzing Environments and Developing Scenarios for Uncertain Times." In M. W. Peterson, D. D. Dill, L. A. Mets, and Associates (eds.), Planning and Management for a Changing Environment. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 1997.
  5. Morrison, J. L. & Wilson, I. (1996). "The Strategic Management Response to the Challenge of Global Change." In Didsbury, Howard (Ed.). Future vision, ideas, insights and strategies. Bethesda, MD: The World Future Society.
  6. Morrison, J. L., Renfro, W. L., & Boucher, W. I. (1984). Futures Research and the Strategic Planning Process. ASHE/ERIC Clearinghouse on Higher Education Research Report Series Number 9.
  7. Ashley, W. L. & Morrison, J. L. (1996). "Anticipatory Management Tools for the 21st Century." The Futures Research Quarterly, 12 (2), 35-49. 
  8. Ashley, W. L. & Morrison, J. L. (1997). "Anticipatory Management: Tools for Better Decision Making." The Futurist, 31(5), 47-50.
  9. Wilson, I. (2000). "From Scenario Thinking to Strategic Action."
  10. Morrison, J. L., Sargison, A., & Francis, D. (1997). "Using the Futures Program As A Tool for Transformation: A Case Study of Lincoln University, New Zealand." In Donald M. Norris and James L. Morrison, Mobilizing for Transformation: How Campuses Are Preparing for the Knowledge Age. New Directions in Institutional Research Number 94 (19-30). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Publishers.
  11. Morrison, J. L., Forbes, L., & Wilkinson, G. W. (2000). Common Sense Management for Educational Leaders.

We use a seminar mailing list to allow participants to comment/raise questions about seminar procedures and materials prior to and after the conference. In addition, we link to a page containing biographical sketches (and photos) of participants

The mailing list is archived here. To send a message to the list, insert in the "to" line.

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