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

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An invitation to work with uncertainty

The name of ‘Islands in the Sky’ itself, is an invitation. It lets people know that when they take part in this process, there is an element of play. There is an element of ‘make believe’ and they are actually the foundations of these imagined future contexts, precisely because they won't be like yesterday. They're not purely founded in the expectations and assumptions of the past. They can also be built based on ‘what if’ and the questions of ‘what might be’ – the things which go beyond our usual expectations, the ways that we think that trends are going to play out, their way of thinking about what happens if a trend bends or even breaks.

And that means that they are, in a way, more like looking up at the sky and seeing pictures in the clouds, seeing faces drifting past us. But that doesn't mean that they don't anchor something very real and very serious when it comes to the decisions we face in turbulent times.

(Finch, 2022)

Activity 17 Build your confidence with uncertainty

Timing: 10 minutes

Islands in the Sky is designed to build confidence with uncertainty by posing questions such as:

  • What if things turn out differently to how I expect?
  • What if those choices and their consequences have to exist in that future?
  • Are they still good choices?
  • IF that future was going to happen, what would it mean for our choices today?

Think about these questions, and Matt’s encouragement that this approach is an invitation to play and look up to the sky. If you were to look up to the sky and think about possible futures, and the ‘islands’ and relationships on those islands, what would this look like.

To help with your thinking, take a piece of paper and draw the images that come to mind. This is a concept often referred to as ‘rich pictures’, You came across this idea in Section 3, Figure 22 below is a ‘rich picture’ visualising what Islands in the Sky might look, by one of our course authors. These pictures do not have to be master pieces, just a reflection of your thinking.

Described image
Figure 22 Example of a simple rich picture

In the next section we take you through the Islands in the Sky methodology in detail.