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Orienteering the Future

July 9, 2014

Orienteering: a sport in which people use a map and a compass to travel along a route they do not know as quickly as possible.”  Merriam-Webster

SAMI Consulting helps people explore change – we spend a great deal of our professional lives facilitating creative and strategic discussion of change and its impacts. Not just for clients; since 2012 SAMI has been offering public events that bring people together to talk about change and to imagine possible futures. These workshops explore common factors in the global economy affecting all professions. The first series, in conjunction with Laurie Young, we called “Blowing the Cobwebs off your Mind.” The Cobwebs series included workshops for over 70 senior thinkers at The Royal Society in January 2013 and 2014. SAMI is now offering a workshop series jointly with the Strategic Planning Society ( ), with initial topics addressing energy and food.

It’s a form of conceptual orienteering that all our participants enjoy and find useful. But it often does seem, in half day events, that we are exploring unknown territory ‘as quickly as possible.’ One result is that people want more: more time to talk, to explore, and more tools to use – not just one map and a compass, but multiple maps, a sextant, maybe the conceptual equivalent of GPS. Really getting into the thick of change takes time.

So last year we decided to make time to help people explore more deeply, in a space that let them experiment with futures tools in order to learn how to apply them in their own work. This foresight tools ‘bootcamp’, offered 18-19 September 2013, let a dozen people use Three Horizons, Futures Wheels, and other foresight tools over a day and a half, fueled by good food and at least one late evening chat over wine. In this more intensive setting, people could share insights learned across professions, and help each other build personally tailored futures processes for their own organisations. Participants reflected that the day and a half were both relaxing and invigorating, stretching them creatively and strategically.

We are repeating this successful experiment this year on 3-4 September, again at Wolfson College, Oxford. The SAMI futures bootcamp presents tools you can use to address:

  • State of play: How do I map what my organisation takes for granted? How can we uncover unvoiced operating assumptions? How do we map our current territory? Can we recognise professional and cultural biases that limit our thinking?
  • Emerging change: How aware are we of what changes lie ahead? Is it possible to audit my organisation’s awareness of change? How do we hone our ability to perceive emerging change? Is there a way to see black swans about to land?
  • Vulnerabilities and challenges: How do these emerging changes affect your current assumptions? What do they challenge that you take for granted? What components of your business do they make vulnerable and less fit for purpose in the years to come?
  • Opportunities and innovations: Consider your vulnerabilities – What opportunities do emerging changes offer you for innovation in goods, services, suppliers, or markets? How can you leverage emerging change to create value?

Past Timeline Icon copy 3H Icon copy




Methods / Frameworks

  • Past Timeline / Three Horizons
  • Gartner Hype Cycle
  • Causal Layered Analysis (CLA)
  • Verge Ethnographic Futures Framework
  • Futures Wheels

CLA Icon copyVerge Icon copyFutures Wheels Icon copy







Learning collaborative use of 5 foresight tools easily applied in your own organisation: Timeline/3 Horizons; Gartner’s Hype Cycle; Causal Layered Analysis (CLA); Verge Ethnographic Futures Framework; and Futures Wheels.

Refreshed understanding of emerging issues; opportunities to shake up your current assumptions and participate in creative conversations that stimulate change.

Dates, Location, Costs

The Fall 2014 futures tools bootcamp will start with check-in opening at noon on 3 September and end at 4.30 pm on 4 September. Our venue will be the lovely Wolfson College, set on the Cherwell River in north Oxford ( ) in beautiful garden grounds. Registration fees include lunch and dinner the first day, overnight accommodation, breakfast and lunch the second, all coffee breaks, and WiFi.

£475.00 + VAT per person including lunch & refreshments:

or £425.00 + VAT per person for more than one delegate booked together.

Early bird rate: book before 15 August 2014 for a £50 discount.

Contact for further information –

Wendy Schultz:

Flyer and registration form:

Written by Wendy Schultz.

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