How to make your vision of the future stick

Only connect

How to make your vision of the future stick
Devlin’s set for U2’s Innocence+Experience tour featured a walkway flanked by video screens, so that band members sometimes appeared to walk through moving images. Courtesy Es Devlin Courtesy Es Devlin

If your vision for the future doesn't make people want to get up and shout 'fuck yeah' - then you might as well not have wasted the time to create it.

Nothing is more exciting than thinking and talking about the future. The future literally offers us all a canvas on which to paint a vivid picture of what could be.

But keeping that vision to yourself isn't going to generate the kind of collaborative energy that's going to get you anywhere, so you need to get people fired up to chip in.

The task of research, analysing and crafting a strategy is only the backend of what is really required to make that strategy useful and ultimately of value.

The majority of the work needed in strategy is selling that vision to others.

And selling it takes a bit of magic.

You are asking people to imagine and get excited about something that doesn't as yet exist; doing that means that you need to connect and engage with their imaginations.

So as an example, if you have used scenario planning as a tool in your strategic research arsenal; take those resulting scenarios and make them come alive by communicating them in a format that excites people on the inside.

Create an immersive game, used theatre, or shoot a few dramatic videos that illustrate the various future stories imaginatively. Do something more than just creating a few PowerPoint slides.

The future is something that needs to be created by people, you need to sell them the need to build that future first.

For inspiration as to how to create intimacy on a grand scale - look no further than the work of British stage designer Es Devlin.

She sculpts the minds of an audience with her work to sell an idea at scale.

Making a vision of the future stick with an audience requires an advanced design of experience.

It's not about simple telling or instructing people, it's about helping them make a strong connection with that vision for themselves.

“Only connect! That was the whole of her sermon. Only connect the prose and the passion, and both will be exalted, and human love will be seen at its height. Live in fragments no longer.”

― E.M. Forster, Howards End