Kanti Gopal Kovvali, Founder - Institution Builders HR Solutions; Specialist in Organizational Unlearning
Future Search is a powerful whole systems approach to diagnosis, design, and change management. It is best suited to address intractable wicked problems where different stakeholders have conflicting perspectives on how to address them. Whole systems approaches engage 50-150 people representing different stakeholders simultaneously. As an evaluation tool, Future Search helps the warring stakeholders discover common ground and work together. Future Search explores the stories of the last twenty years that shaped the issue(s) under discussion. These stories connect the micro, the meso, and the macro together. Participants reflect on the stories for patterns, trends, and causal relations. Through exploring the past, they develop a systemic understanding of what has led us into the present situation. After a deep immersion into the past, participants shift gears into the present. They look for trends - positive and negative stories and prioritize them based on how they would impact the issue(s) under discussion. At this stage, each stakeholder group also takes responsibility for the positive and negative present trends they contributed to. After delving into the past and present, it is time to create the future. Participants enact skits that showcase future stories and the plot that would have taken them there. From the skits, the stakeholder groups identify the common ground - stories everyone wants to own up to and take forward. Those stories where there are differences are discussed without being debated. People leave the room having diagnosed the past, understood the present, and created the future blueprint. In this full-day professional development workshop, participants will undergo a Future Search simulation. They will learn the methodology, facilitator mindset, and nuances relating to Future Search. This is a highly transformational evaluation, design, and change management methodology that professional evaluators can add to the repertoire of evaluation methodologies and skills.
Organizations follow traditional organizational evaluations to measure change. Evaluators do not see themselves as change makers. With the Future Search methodology, the evaluation and change-making roles collapse into one holistic, transformative offering. Marvin Weisboard invented this methodology and popularized it largely in the social and educational sectors. I used Future Search extensively as a standalone methodology and in combination with other methodologies.
Through this eStudy, participants will undergo the following paradigm shifts:
1. Evaluations cannot be about present events and what is working and what is not right now. Evaluations, especially in the social sector and for solving wicked problems, should dig deeper into the long past. By capturing events and stories that they produced over time and connecting the dots between the stories, one can identify causal relations that are separated over time and hence did not come to our attention. We shift out of linear thinking and become system thinkers. When evaluators embrace systems thinking, they stop reacting to single stories but a collage of stories that tell insightful new stories.
2. Our personal, organizational, and larger system stories are all interconnected. Understanding the inter-relationships in an evaluation process helps the people of the organization understand that 'personal is political'. By harmonizing one's thinking and actions with organizational thinking and actions with the larger ecosystem's thinking and actions - this is how we make evaluations transformational.
3. Examining external and internal trends, prioritizing the top ones, and taking responsibility for those that, as stakeholders, we caused makes evaluations transformational and any action planning authentic and meaningful.
4. Involving all the stakeholders connected with the wicked problem in the evaluation process ensures that the burden of carrying forward the evaluation insights does not lie with a few individuals or a single stakeholder.
5. By focusing attention on the common ground rather than on conflict resolution, we ensure movement forward. Conflicting stakeholders have trust issues, and by delving too much into differences, evaluation reports get into a logjam.
6. Instead of surveys and focus groups with homogeneous groups, which are high on effort and low on impact, Future Search uses stories and heterogeneous groups working to transform the paradigm of evaluation.
7. Through Future Search, participating evaluators will go through paradigm changes regarding what it means to conduct evaluations and how one can change future stories by correctly understanding past stories.
Unpacking Future Search Technology
- What is the Future Search Framework?
- How to develop a systematic understanding of the past?
- How would stakeholders decipher the trends affecting the change issue and take responsibility for the present?
- How to create a preferred future and identify the common ground?
- How does action planning happen?
Session II Agenda
Designing a Future Search Event for Transformational Evaluation
- Each participant will create their future search event.
- They will learn the Do’s and Don’ts of Future Search Facilitation
- Question and Answer session
This workshop is aligned to AEA’s Competencies and Guiding Principles as follows:
- Systematic Inquiry: Evaluators conduct data-based inquiries that are thorough, methodical, and contextually relevant.
- Competence: Evaluators provide skilled professional services to stakeholders.
- Respect for People: Evaluators honor the dignity, well-being, and self-worth of individuals and acknowledge the influence of culture within and across groups.
Kanti Gopal Kovvali is a specialist in Organizational Diagnosis and Change Management. He has 25 years of workshop and group process facilitation experience. He is a specialist in Organizational Diagnosis and Change Management. He provides consulting services for both the social and corporate sectors.
Kanti is trained on Whole Systems Change’ by the late Kathleen Dannemiller, a US-based systems thinker, and whole systems change facilitator. His consulting projects are based on systems thinking and whole systems methods such as real-time strategic change, future search, open space, and Simu Real. He is acknowledged as an expert on Whole Systems Change in India.
Kanti has 25 + years of workshop and group process facilitation experience. A specialist in Organizational Diagnosis and Change Management. He works with both the social and corporate sectors. He hasconduct workshops on Organizational Diagnosis, Whole Systems Change, Change Management, Consulting Skills, Leadership Development, Coaching, Mentoring, First Time Manager and Performance Management.
October 31, 2023 12:00 - 1:30 PM ET
November 7, 2023 12:00 - 1:30 PM ET
Once you purchase the eStudy you must register for each session. Recordings will be made available to registrants unable to attend sessions live. Recordings will be made available to all registrants for 90 days.