Future Search Conference

A Future Search Conference is a meeting that spans more than one day with the objective that participants identify a shared vision of the future towards which to aim. This option is particularaly useful for providing an opportunity to come up with an agreed plan of action between those with power over and issue (i.e. politician or project designers) and those who will be affected by or who have concerns regarding the issue.

"A future search conference helps a group of people to develop a series of options for the future, and agree on a plan of action, which, because participants include those with the power to make it happen as well as those who will be affected, should be able to be implemented. 

A future search conference will develop a feasible plan which incorporates the needs and wishes of those affected as well as those of the decision making agencies or departments. Such a plan should allow a community or group to reach a preferred future vision."
 
Department of Sustainability and Environment (2005) p40

Advice

Advice for CHOOSING this option (tips and traps)

This option can be helpful in that...

  • "The search conference is useful in identifying issues at the early stages of a project or process. 
  • It assists in identifying key or priority issues. 
  • Can provide guidance on how the participation process should be run. 
  • Can provide advice on who to involve in the participation process and gain support for ongoing involvement. 
  • Can empower individuals to become better informed, and better able to express their opinions. 
  • It is useful when participation of large groups is desirable and an open forum is sought. 

Advice for USING this option (tips and traps)

Keep in mind that...

  • It can be logistically challenging given the number of potential participants. 
  • It requires the engagement of an experienced facilitator to be successful.

This advice is taken from Department of Sustainability and Environment (2005), Book 3: The Engagement Toolkit.Effective Engagement: building relationships with community and other stakeholders, The Community Engagement Network Resource and Regional Services Division Victorian Government Department of Sustainability and Environment  p40.

Resources

  • The Engagement Toolkit: Page 40 of this resource provides a detailed description and advice for using this option, including the estimated costs, skills and resources needed.

Sources

Department of Sustainability and Environment (2005), Book 3: The Engagement Toolkit.Effective Engagement: building relationships with community and other stakeholders, The Community Engagement Network Resource and Regional Services Division Victorian Government Department of Sustainability and Environment. Retrieved from http://www.dse.vic.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0003/105825/Book_3_-_The_Engagement_Toolkit.pdf

Instructor speaking to students in classroom by Hagerty Ryan, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Updated: 14th January 2014 - 1:51am
This Option is useful for:
A special thanks to this page's contributors
Author
Research Assistant, RMIT University.
Melbourne.

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