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Hybrid working: planning for the future
Hybrid working: planning for the future

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5 Approaches for Futures Planning

Once you have an understanding of the problem you need to solve, the next stage is solving the core challenges. This is at the heart of futures planning, options are explored, and possible solutions tested using approaches to challenge and guide your exploration. First though you need to be open to the concept of the ‘Art of the Possible’.

Tom Cheesewright, applied futurist, in his article The art of probable, the possible and the desirable [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] states that the art of the possible has come to mean ‘achieving what we can (possible), rather than what we want (often impossible) (Cheesewright, n.d)’, but Paul Mahoney suggests in his article The Art of Possible that it should be viewed as a tool for moving forward with ideas that are big and bold as well as small and innovative. (Mahony, 2021)

As you start to plan for the future, considering what is both possible and impossible, often will lead to ideas that provide the solution, or enable your organisation to innovative and evolve in ways they may not have considered at the start of the process.

Activity 13 Simple changes

The ‘Art of the Possible’ programme of work (Future Generations Commissioner for Wales, n.d.b), focused on how public bodies and other organisations could start to focus on long term changes that will improve the wellbeing of communities across Wales, and start their journey to meeting the wellbeing goals of the Act.

One of the outputs from this programme was the creation of a resource bank of ‘Simple Changes’. These are important as it is often the simple changes that assist in finding solutions for more complex problems you need to solve, but also those small changes you can make often have the most impact for those within your organisation.

Spend some time exploring some of the ‘Simple Changes’ (Future Generations Comissioners for Wales, n.d.c) resources, to start to collate ideas that could help you in your approach to problem solving.

Simple Changes – The Future Generations Commissioner for Wales

Further reading

If you are a public body based in Wales, you may wish to use the following resources to establish connections of your change initiatives (or projects) to the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015’s (Future Generations Commissioner for Wales, n.d.a) seven wellbeing goals:

Selecting an approach for planning

When looking at developing options to resolving problems, there are many approaches available to help you. Some help at a high level to frame your thinking, others help you delve deeper into the detail.

If you are new to planning, it often helps to use a single approach, but as you become more familiar and experience, those involved with futures planning, often will combine approaches drawing on the elements that work best for the problem they are trying to solve, or the context within they are working.

This section is slightly different to the rest of the course, as we explore three approaches that you can use for assisting with futures planning and problem solving. Due to the length of the content to introduce and provide guidance for these, you may wish to only focus on one in detail while studying this course, and come back to the others outside time allocated. As you work through the section consider the ‘Hybrid ways of working: a contextual sustainability framework’ we introduced at the start of the course.