Futurizing Your Organization
By Ian Wilson and James L. Morrison

"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 will examine the futurizing process from a holistic point of view, covering all aspects from the philosophical to the practical, and drawing on the presenters' broad experience in the fields of business and education. Presentations and discussions will 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. Participants will receive a course notebook containing pertinent background readings and all presentation slides.

Please review the following publications prior to coming to the workshop.:

  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."

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