The theory and practice of Preferred Futuring was developed by the Ron Lippit family, Edward Lindaman, Kathie Dannemiller and many others. In their own words, the reasoning behind this relevant approach is that as events have accelerated, particularly in this last decade or so, it is important to realize that we are able to create much of our own future. The outstanding behavioral proposition is that there is a relationship between what we want and what we can do and create. This is the main point of the Preferred Futuring technology: a new awareness that we are able to construct a very large part of our own future and we should refuse to abdicate to this important task. The idea is to move away from conventional problem-solving mentality, where people go to a meeting, list problems, create priorities, engage into some kind of discussion and eventually the level of motivation and energy goes down. Moreover, in this dull environment there is a constant rise in comments attributing the causes of the problems to factors outside the group and its sphere of influence. When groups are able to get to the point of goal-setting, the goals are usually shortsighted, conservative, recycled and not very creative. These goals are usually an attempt to move from something undesirable or even painful, and are not motivated by a desire to progress toward something exciting. Sadly, when ideas are listed and prioritized, the resulting depression, sense of helpness and defensiveness often make it more difficult for work groups to cooperate and follow through with action. Diplomacy, not to say defeatism, reins to avoid conflict, and endless meetings are the order of the day. The future cannot begin…
On the other hand, when a picture of preferred future is created by people who are not afraid, excitement and enthusiasm rises considerably. Goals become much more far-reaching and creative and there is increased motivation for moving toward something challenging and exciting plus working together as a true team.
Again, the paradigm shift has to be of moving from focusing exclusively on problem solving and quick fixes to focusing on an exciting future state.
Individuals need to learn how to think in the future tense for themselves. What is important is not predictions of the future, but crystallizing in their own minds what their own preferred future is. The key question is: What is our vision of what we want? I think it would be very interesting if we could agree on the idea of developing a Task Force on the Preferred Future of Puerto Rico. The idea would be to involve as many people as possible and representing all sectors of the society in a very serious and profound exercise of social participation. The purpose is to ask anybody, a farmer, a teacher, a homemaker, a mechanic, a teenager, a businessman or an executive woman, for their images of preferred future. The question for this experiment would be: What is it you want for Puerto Rico? The thesis is that if you can find a truthful way to ask people their vision about a doable future, and then listen to them and put it down, a creative image of the future can begin to take shape.
In the past, people tended to assume the future was going to repeat the present. This was the strong ideology of continuity. During the last few years, slowly, people have begun to realize that we are really able to construct much of our future. If we accept this premise, then we have to decide if we want to actively involve ourselves in that future. Once we decide to get involved, we have to decide how to participate in the creation of such a future for the society, its sectors and organizations as well. Then we face a delicate angle: deciding what kind of future we prefer. This gets down to the vital questions about what really do we value and what we really need and want…
We have to begin, learning for tomorrow, that is, making decisions for a better future.
Copyright 1999 QBS, Inc.