The Futures Game

What is The Futures Game?

The Futures Game is a ‘stand-alone’ workshop tool that has been designed to help groups explore how regional and local decisions can shape long-term economic, environmental, and community well-being. This “futures simulation” approach can be used in a range of ways including:

  • Engage communities and groups in discussions about the future
  • Add extra depth and strength to regional planning efforts
  • Help hone leadership and decision-making skills
  • As a team building and change-management tool

The game can be used as a powerful tool to stimulate debate and discussion about the future.

How The Futures Game works

Each team starts with a base map depicting a hypothetical region including small towns, a variety of land uses and ownership, and a mix of landscapes and businesses. At each of five stages (for example 2010, 2012, 2015, 2020 and 2030), teams are presented with a particular situation and asked to choose between two critical decisions.

They are also given a set of important national and international events to consider as they make their choice. After each stage, teams receive a new map depicting the impact of their decision on regional land use, town population and services, local businesses and the economy. By the game’s end point in 2030, each team has charted a course for the future reflecting the decisions they’ve made in the game.

The game takes a multifaceted and integrated view of the future, allowing people to explore a range of plausible outcomes. By the end, it’s clear to everyone that choices about people and place can have significant and sometimes unexpected long-term consequences on the region and its communities.

What people gain from playing The Futures Game

Communities and organizations can use the game’s future simulation approach to achieve several powerful outcomes. The most obvious is that people have a chance to discuss growth and development in a hypothetical region, making it easier to explore alternatives than is often the case in real world settings. They learn how decisions that seem sensible in the short-term may play out in unpredictable ways over time, making it critical to shift course to reflect new priorities and values.

Many communities use the game to assess where they are today relative to where they’d like to be 20 years in the future. In this way, it can be a powerful way for community members to consider their own vision and desires for the future of their region and community, and begin to explore the action steps required to get to their preferred future.

On an individual and organizational level, The Futures Game can be an excellent tool for people to explore decision making, and to better understand their own leadership and decision making styles.

For more on the ‘Futures Game’ visit Future iQ Parnters’ website.

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