Future Search Training LO5872

Tue, 27 Feb 1996 11:17:31 -0500

Replying to LO5804 --

I concur with Tobin as to the quality and value of the Weisbord -Janoff
Future Search. As pointed out in the Fifth Discipline Fieldbook (p. 504)
Future Searches are particularly useful for community issues.

The group might be interested in taking advantage of a little known
secret. Merrelyn (and sometimes Fred) Emery (whom Weisbord studied with
before developing his own model elaborating on the Schindler-Rainman and
Lippit Collaborative Community Design method) hold a few public workshops
each year through New Mexico State University's International Institute
for Resource Management in Las Cruces, New Mexico. For further information
you can contact Rossana Alvarez, a PHD candidate there; her E-mail is
Internet:IIRM@NMSU.edu or phone her at 505-646-2825.

Having had the opportunity to study and use both methods In my opinion
they are quite different approaches whose main link is a similar name. Dr.
Ronald Purser, who has co-written a book on the Emery Search Conference,
describes the field of choices this way: Other methods (for example
Weisbord and Janoff 's "Future Search") that resemble a Search Conference
have made significant alterations to the methodology such that they are
more suited for "visioning" or consensus building but not strategic
planning or creating an on-going learning-planning community."

Fred Emery and Eric Trist were the first to write about the emergence of
turbulence and uncertainty in 1965 which we all confront today. The Search
Conference, as they designed it, is an experiential approach to planning
in real time that helps organizations to develop the capacity for active
adaptation to turbulent environments.

A number of prominent organizations have begun to employ the Emery's
Search Conference method in the US. I wrote an article with Janet Fiero
describing the use of the method in a unit within Motorola which designs
and manufactures high tech chips for cellular phones. I would be happy to
send a copy of the Motorola article to anyone (in the States) who sends me
an E-mail with their snail mail address.

It is always helpful to go to the original source of an approach. Having
studied briefly with Peter Senge I find it fascinating to see the
different approaches world class thinkers employ to create learning
organizations. In my view our intent on this list is fundamentally about
creating organizations that are actively adaptive to changing
environmental circumstances. The Emery's work is another important piece
of original thinking and work on designing organizations to be actively

Hope this offers folks a few more choices for their learning adventures.

Steven Cabana
Whole System Associates



Learning-org -- An Internet Dialog on Learning Organizations For info: <rkarash@karash.com> -or- <http://world.std.com/~lo/>