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We offer three services to help clients design
Intentional Futures
for the people they share a future with

1. Stakeholder Assessments

2. Shared Visions

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The future brings change

We help clients shape inevitable change through clear, creative, and intentional efforts to define the "what, why, and how" of the future.

Solutions

What we do

We work with clients to focus a research process on specific aspects of the future. Data is collected individually and remotely. Qualitative techniques are used to develop actionable ideas leading to a shared vision.

What you get

Projects are conducted online and create valuable results, such as: 1) Stakeholder engagement about a shared future, 2) Development of ideas and insights, and 3) Clarity of what, why, and how to manage future change.

A mosaic of dialogue

Our clients

We serve people who believe the future can and should be carefully considered and thoughtfully implemented.

Clients include state and local governments, non-profit organizations, for-profit businesses, colleges, universities, schools, healthcare organizations, and start-ups.

Our method builds an insider's perspective of a future socio-cultural system grounded in the words, thoughts, insights, motivations, and aspirations of those who have a stake in that system's future.

Sign saying of unwritten future

Vision is the narrative for change

A story about the future describes desirable future conditions, the changes required to make it happen, and an explanation of why these changes are important, achievable, and worth pursuing.

Observations Log (blog)

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Custom, scalable projects

Pricing is based on project size and complexity.
Choose from one of three project types

Project Types

Created:

Building on a previous discussion of project outcomes (see https://www.futuresresearch.io/blog/emerging-themes-k12-stakeholder-assessment), below is a summary of findings from a K12 CTE Stakeholder Assessment. Because this project was designed to inform the “desired state” of a K12 CTE program, these findings are presented as anticipated future conditions. The method…

 
Research process

Solutions

We offer three solutions, each powered by our visioning method.

 
Colorful quilt

Method

Our visioning method is embedded in all project types (i.e., solutions) because it has proven to be an effective and reliable approach to elicit and analyze people’s ideas about possible futures. This method has evolved over time. Originally modeled after an anticipatory anthropological approach called Ethnographic Futures Research, our current inquiry method uses proprietary technologies that collect and code data (captured as structured conceptual units) describing future socio-cultural conditions. Our data coding system is designed to identify “ideas about the future” that aggregate inputs from multiple stakeholders and data sources. Within a specific project, these “ideas” are used to produce outputs such as vision statements, actionable goals, strategy blueprints, tactical logic models, and assessment rubrics for measuring success in efforts to attain desired future conditions.

Stakeholders

1. Stakeholder Assessments

A solution for a group needing to understand and respond to the interests, values, and needs of the people they seek to serve.

Application

  • Contextualized insights on possible change. This solution engages the people who share a certain future describe as desirable and possible for their futures.

Output

  • Data set of insights derived from visioning stakeholder interviews (coded by meaning-making tags)
  • Aggregated ideas derived from data set
  • Various options for output formats (depend on client goals and budget)
    • Written report
    • Curated presentations
    • Video of project findings (aggregated ideas)
  • Data, analysis, and other outputs from Stakeholder Assessments are INPUTS for Solution 2: Shared Visions of Shared Futures.

Impact

  • Individual impacts of each stakeholder include:
    • Feeling included, heard, respected, and appreciated
    • Clarity of desired future and required attainment actions
  • Client impacts for the “group” include:
    • Contextualized understanding of stakeholder needs
    • Specific insight on what they future can look like, why it’s important, and how to make it happen

Detail

  • Every project is different, generally these projects involve 20 to 50 stakeholders who are each interviewed
  • Timeline is affected by interviewee availability. On average, we are able to handle 4 interviews per day (20 per week)
Dream big

2. Shared Visions of Shared Futures

This solution uses the outputs from Solution 1: Stakeholder Assessment, it is for a group needing to coalesce a vision informed by synthesizing stakeholder ideas and insights.

Application

  • Articulation of a group’s intention to organize and act toward the attaining of specific future conditions. This solution blends strategy and actions with context and meaning to define anticipated outcomes and map out the achievement of those outcomes.

Output

  • Detailed vision statement of a group’s shared future synthesizing facilitated reactions and inputs from stakeholders
    • Logic model connecting desired stated results with stakeholder ideas and insights,
    • actions (what, who, how, when), and
    • anticipated measures of attainment
  • Actions populated in an online task tracking tool (includes first year of annual subscription)

Impact

  • Individual impacts range from:
    • Feeling connected (included) in group’s vision to
    • Understanding one’s role in attaining a shared future
  • Group impacts include:
    • Clarity and coalescence around a shared vision of a shared future
    • Flexible visioning frameworks (i.e., logic model and task tracking tool) allow alignment of goals and adjustments to actions
    • Accountability and measurement of efforts toward vision attainment

Detail

  • This solution requires Solution 1: Stakeholder Assessment, which defines several important parameters such as number of stakeholders, depth of context, and complexity of desired future conditions
  • Timeline is relatively short, usually 2 to 3 weeks depending on the completeness and cohesion of ideas developed by Solution 1: Stakeholder Assessment)
Dream big

3. Forward-Looking Program Reviews

A solution for organizations that need to review ongoing efforts and align with relevant and anticipated trends and forces.

Application

  • Evaluation of past performance, current conditions, and desired future outcomes. This solution blends organizational data, external data with stakeholders’ perceptions of the future.

Output

  • Enhanced awareness among key program staff & stakeholders of analytic result of past-performance data
  • Development of context affecting previous opportunities and challenges
  • Exploration of current and emerging opportunities and challenges affecting mission and approach
  • Articulation of a program’s desired future conditions, why those future outcomes are important, and how those outcomes will be pursued

Impact

  • Individual impacts include:
    • Helping those “in thick of it” gain perspective and a fresh outlook
    • Understanding how aligned stakeholders view the program’s current and future goals
    • Identification and sequencing of actions to shape program’s future outcomes
  • Program impacts include:
    • Realignment of programmatic strategy with mission
    • Optimization of program resources
    • Revitalization of program’s engagement with established and new stakeholders

Detail

  • This solution requires a series of meetings with key program staff & stakeholders whose availability will impact project timeline
Created:

 A current project seeks to align K12 CTE with post-secondary CTE and it’s proven to be an intricate journey, akin to an Odyssey. While the allure of dual credit is strong, many students encounter challenges in applying their hard-earned credits, revealing a gap between promise and reality.

Does dual credit truly deliver on its promise of providing free college credit and motivating non-traditional students to pursue higher education? My inquiries with 10 CTCs…

 
Frosty Trees

About Us

Futures Research was created by Matthew Mitchell with the goal of expanding access to innovative services that help groups and individuals be more intentional about their futures.

As a graduate student, Matthew began using anticipatory ethnography to investigate systemic causes and socio-cultural impacts of the "digital divide." This work led to the application of futures research to several large public- and private-funded grant programs designed to build digital inclusion through access to technology and digital literacy.

Open road

Evolution

In 2004, Matthew applied a nascent version of an anticipatory ethnography method to bridge a major private foundation technology grant program into a state-wide sustainable initiative, which in turn prompted a state-funded technology grant program (called CTOP), that Matthew managed for a few years.

In 2008, responding to opportunities in industry and government, Matthew co-founded a policy research group focused on building national strategies to expand the availability and application of broadband services. Significant advances to the core visioning method were achieved through analytical innovations leveraging database and UX technologies.

In 2016, Matthew created Futures Research to focus on "mission-driven" clients. Futures Research found early success with non-profit and public-funded higher education clients. Technological innovation continues to play an important role in expanding access to the essential services of informed anticipatory research.

Central in all of this work has been an evolving research method to conduct thousands of visioning interviews with leaders of state and local governments, businesses, K12 systems, colleges and universities, non-profits, foundations, health care organizations, and other community anchor institutions.

Colorful quilt

Discover Change

Futures Research is an online, data-driven "change discovery" system. Our projects seek out the what, why, and how of change. We collect data from those who share a future to conceptualize and articulate ideas about the future. We help groups build visions of their future. We develop strategic visions for mission-driven companies, organizations, and groups. Our projects can be applied to planning, assessment, and engagement efforts of all types. For example, projects inform efforts like strategic planning, stakeholder engagement, outreach campaigns, policy formation, program review, board development, needs assessment, risk analysis, and identification of opportunity and innovation.

People on the street

Data-Driven Futures

The future is too important to not be as intentional, thoughtful, and strategic as possible. This is why Futures Research exists: to help individuals and groups develop and pursue a shared vision of their shared futures.

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