FutureWorks is a change-event which typically runs for two to three days and involves 15 to 25 people. Research shows the importance of dialogue and shared sense-making. New knowledge is created in collaboration, and such collaboration breeds a new culture of curiosity, engagement and co-creation. Getting from change-talk to action happens faster when the problems and new opportunities are seen, felt and understood together.
THE PROCESS – QUESTION-DRIVEN ENGAGEMENT
A FutureWorks session starts with a number of trigger-questions from a senior leader or expert, to be answered at the end of the session. Typically, these are questions relating to changing customer behavior, offering-development or about developing new practices.
To support the initial collaborative problem-solving process, experts from the LearningMiles faculty offer conceptual frameworks and research observations in suitable portions to allow for work-group dialogue aiming at identifying the actual problems and issues underlying the trigger-question(s).
At the end of the first day, when the groups have developed a deeper view of the question and the topic, a Customer Safari is announced. This part of the FutureWorks -process will take the participants out of the security of the conference-room to observe and to see what goes on in the world of the customer. Members on the Safari will observe, in real life, how the customer thinks, feels and acts. This visit to reality has a profound impact both on the dialogue and on the understanding of the group, and it often results in challenging the assumptions made early in the process.
The intensive and focused work invested in the first two days of the FutureWorks programme results in deep exploration of alternative and innovative solutions. On day three these solutions are presented to the provider of the trigger-questions and to the management board for yet another refining dialogue — and often for debate.
In April 2014, the FutureWorks approach adapted for the Swedish media-group MittMedia was awarded the prestigious Global Innovation Award (Best in Europe) by INMA.
FutureWorks focuses on results by delivering an answer to a difficult question as well as valuable suggestions for action. At its best, FutureWorks allows a strategic project to be completed in three days instead of sapping the energy out of a company with too many projects in progress.
FutureWorks has developed into a signature concept for LearningMiles and it has been adapted for a variety of contexts, such as telecom-companies searching for reasons for failing customer-service, and newsmediaprofessionals exploring new revenue-streams.