Future Search

Future Search

Used by communities and organizations, Future Search is a unique planning method that enables large, diverse groups to validate a common mission, take responsibility for action, and develop commitment to implementation.

The meeting is task-focused. It brings together people from all walks of life into the same conversation — those with resources, expertise, formal authority and need. People tell stories about their past, present and desired future. Through dialogue they discover their common ground, and then they make concrete action plans.

The meeting design comes from theories and principles tested in many cultures for the past 50 years. It relies on mutual learning among stakeholders as a catalyst for voluntary action and follow-up. People devise new forms of cooperation that continue for months or years

Use Future Search when: The method is especially useful in uncertain, fast-changing situations when it is important that everyone have the same large picture in order to act responsibly.

Topics suited for this model: Housing, employment, transportation, education, and more!

Why we chose this model: This is a method for strategic planning, which helps communities develop cooperative plans. Particularly for a smaller-sized community, libraries could serve as a facilitative leader for conversations in the community where plans need to be developed, as they are a key resource and gathering place.

Learning Sessions



First 30 Days: Getting Started

Resources: Future Search

The Future Search Method

A guide to the method and the steps and elements involved.

Helps with agenda setting and planning and provides examples and additional resources.

Get the Future Search Method

Future Search Books and Videos

A listing of Future Search's publications and videos for purchase.

Helps dig deeper into the method and process of leading a Future Search process.

Get Future Search Books and Videos

These resources are offered as part of Libraries Transforming Communities (LTC): Models for Change, an initiative of the American Library Association (ALA) and National Coalition for Dialogue & Deliberation (NCDD) that seeks to strengthen libraries' roles as core community leaders and agents of change. LTC: Models for Change is made possible in part by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS).