3 Dimensions of Understanding

Protocol: Future Protocol a.k.a. Back to the Future

Adapted from: The School Reform Initiative

An effective time to use this strategy is in the early stages of creating any plan or project that will ultimately have an endpoint (e.g. visioning, strategic planning). Ideas should be formulated and considered, but not yet formalized. If they are formalized, other review and refinement structures like a Tuning Protocol could be considered.

Goals and Purposes:
• Expand and clarify vision of what a group, team, or organization is trying to achieve
• Identify opportunities and avenues for strategic planning
• Guide purposeful actions that consider challenges, timeline, resources, and outcomes
• Increase likelihood that vision becomes reality

This process works best for synchronous meetings.

For locally situated teams, the process is clearly laid out in the document at the link above.

In a webinar setting:
  1. The coach or facilitator could work with one group or create the number of breakout rooms that would accommodate the members of a team.
  2. The coach or team leader will provide a whiteboard for each breakout room that has three pages. The three pages represent three time-frame: Projected Future, Beginning Past, and a Time that connects the 2.
  3. Individuals or team members would move into break out rooms with another individual or set of team members. NOTE: Each team. should have a coach or facilitator in the room to facilitate the protocol.
  4. The protocol begins with the Lead of the group sharing what the team is trying to accomplish, as well as the hopes, expectations, and parameters being considered in the vision or strategic plan.
  5. This is followed by the group asking clarifying and probing questions of the Lead.
  6. A whiteboard with three slides labeled: Projected Future, Beginning Past, and a Time that connects the 2 is shared with the individual group or each group in a breakout room.
  7. Beginning with the Future Slide, group members are invited to project into the future and thoroughly describe what it looks, sounds, and feels like having accomplished your goals and vision. As ideas are shared, they should be recorded on the whiteboard.
  8. Then from the perspective of being IN the time of the projected future, continue with steps 9,10, and 9.
  9. Move to the second slide and Look Back from your projected future and describe how it looked when you started. Share ideas and record them on the whiteboard slide.
  10. Move to the third slide and Connect the projected future to the past by explicitly answering "how" you moved your organization from the past to the projected future. Once again, share ideas and record them on the whiteboard.
  11. The white boards of the break out rooms should be saved by the team members so the ideas there can be explored by all.
  12. Allow a few minutes to debrief the process and identify Next Steps, prioritizing the items from the whiteboard and following up with the development of an action plan for the top priority items.