Three Horizons: A Strategic Visioning Tool

Three Horizons: A Strategic Visioning Tool

I went along to the Facilitators’ Network here in Edinburgh and learned about a strategic visioning tool called Three Horizons.

It’s a tool that allows us to imagine what an ideal future (H3) may look like.

The following diagram gives us an opportunity to reflect on three co-existing horizons and the interplay between them.

H1 represents the status quo. When we ask ourselves what H1 looks like we consider what’s happening right now and within that we consider what keeps things going and needs to stay. Conversely we also discuss what we need to let go of and what no longer serves us.

H2 represents innovation. It’s an entrepreneurial space. It’s about trying things out and prototyping.
H2- may look new and different but it’s really just a version of H1.
H2+ takes us into H3 (future) space and asks the question ‘What can we try?’

In H3 we explore further what this imagined future looks like.

By exploring the dynamic of the H1, H2 and H3 horizons we begin see possibilities and opportunities for change and we imagine what that change looks like within a safe space.

On the day we did a practice run of the tool under the topic ‘Future City’. We were tasked to break off into groups and go around the city taking photos of things we imagined may be H1, H2 and H3 Future Edinburgh. It was great fun and an interesting way to collaborate, discuss and imagine our ideal Future City.

Here’s a photo our group took that represents H3 – we were going for ‘playfulness’ ( whilst reflecting the future pedestrianised George Street of our imagination…)

Image courtesy of Sabina Strachan

I love learning about strategic visioning tools as it’s an area I work a lot in. I also love blending and weaving different tools to find the right fit for my client. If you would like to have a chat with me about planning for you or your team’s future, get in touch via email or give me a call on 0131 554 6551.

Thanks and all the best,

Have you used this facilitation tool?

Have you used this facilitation tool?

I was first introduced to the ORID facilitation framework (a concept devised by the Technology of Participation from the Institute of Cultural Affairs) at a Facilitation Network meeting, as beautifully executed by Joyce Matthews.

ORID is a framework that facilitates focussed conversations.

It helps the group to develop a deeper understanding of their experiences. Often actions emerge as a result of this shared reflection.

I find it to be a particularly elegant and grounding way of rounding off a facilitation session or meeting.

ORID stands for Objective, Reflective, Interpretive and Decisional.

As the facilitator it’s important to tailor your questions relevant to the topic in hand. Here are some ideas for using ORID to conclude a meeting.

Objective questions capture and identify facts.
– What have you noticed today?
– What ideas caught your attention?

Reflective questions get to the core of our feelings.
– How do you feel about the information we just shared?
– How would you describe the collective mood of today’s session?
– What is your gut telling you about the session?

Interpretive questions address the ‘So what’, the meaning of what just took place.
– What was your key insight?
– What did you learn?
– What does that mean for you, your team, the company (for example)?

Decisional questions ask, ‘Now what?’
– How has this experience changed your thinking?
– What will you do as a result?
– What are your next steps?

I’d love to know if you have used this tool before and if so, what your experience was. Feel free to drop me a note anytime.

Here’s to a focussed week ahead,

Sketchnote: 5 Ways to Be More Creative at Work

Sketchnote: 5 Ways to Be More Creative at Work

Do ever feel that you’re going through the motions at work? That at times it feels like you spend most of your day fire fighting with little to show at the end of it?

One way to gently dislodge yourself from this mode of working to consider the ways you can inject creativity into the workplace. Small changes can make a big difference.

Here are some of my favourites:

5 ways to be more creative at work


1. Take ownership of your creativity.
I often go into workplaces where people make comments like, ‘I’d love to be more creative but it’s just really corporate and stuffy here. The culture in this place isn’t set up for it.’
Your experience of creativity starts with you! Be brave, get involved and challenge the status quo. The power is in your hands.

2. Seek joy in the ordinary.
You don’t need to go on a 5 day design thinking workshop to be creative. In my experience joy and creativity are closely aligned. What small things in your working day bring a sense of joy?

3. Adopt a flexible approach.
Rigidity is the enemy of creativity. Always needing to do things in a certain way is a sign that you may be suffocating your creative spark.

4. Feed your creativity every day.
Creativity isn’t art or drawing or fancy wallpaper. It may be, but it also may be cooking and sock wearing and fresh air and a new game of cards. What does creativity mean to you? Seek it out on a daily basis.

5. Celebrate individuality.
Celebrating difference and how that feeds collective thinking honours the creativity in us all.

I hope you enjoyed today’s newsletter. I’m always exploring new ideas so if there’s anything you’d like to see featured do let me know.

All the best for the rest of the week,

P.S. I am now on Instagram. (I know. So modern.) Do pop over and say hello:

How to use visual thinking at work

Today I thought I’d share with you some of the many ways my clients are using visual thinking at work.

I’ve had people say all sorts of things to me about visual thinking and its applications. From ‘I can see how L&D might use this but not anyone else in the business’ to ‘Isn’t this just for deaf people?’ I’ve heard it all.

One of the brilliant things about visual thinking is that it can be used in so many different settings. Today we’re looking at some of the not-so-common applications in business settings:

– Discussing team cooperation problems in our teams with our managers
– Highlighting skills and future objectives in a career development discussion
– Developing posters and storyboards for product launches and stakeholder identification
– Creating visuals on our team board from our key points in a retrospective (so easy to forget action points when they’re just things we need to be mindful of and we’re just emailing them around)
– Series of visuals as suggestions to a mental health group
– Note taking, spicing up minutes, planning stories

Visual Thinking at Work


Here’s what self confessed former sceptic Sandeep has to say: ‘I have been a Business Analyst for 20 years and in that period, I have attended many training courses including those having formal process diagrams and what not, which most times confuse rather than convince people. And then you come across this – Visual Thinking for Business – which is simple and easy to understand. It is the best thing I have come across in my work in 20 years.’ Sandeep Jayan, Senior Business Analyst, Baillie Gifford.

Visual Thinking is not about impressing your colleagues with fun drawings. It’s so much deeper than that. At its heart it’s about problem solving, generating ideas and sparking creativity.

Ready to learn more? Book in for a Visual Thinking for Business call with me and we’ll explore whether this is a good fit for you and your colleagues. Book a call here >>

Have a top week meanwhile,

Getting started with visual facilitation Part 2

Getting started with visual facilitation Part 2

Last week we looked at the first steps you need to take when adding visual facilitation to your work.

Today we’ve arrived at the day of the session.

You have your templates created in advance, now:
1. Make sure you hang them up well in advance of people arriving in the room (N.B. Use masking tape, not blutack!)
2. Have extra flipcharts to hand at either side of your templates in case you run out of space when filling them in.
3. Explain the process clearly and outline exactly what’s going to happen i.e. talk people through each section of the template. (mention you may have your back to them from time to time – it’s more like a pivoting action, the listening/scribing.)
4. Throughout the session use different methods for capturing information – post-it notes, dot voting, them drawing etc.
5.When scribing, be sure to do so in their language. 
6. At the end of the session read through the content you have captured and check with the group to see if you missed anything or if anything was captured incorrectly.
7. Review and reflect – what worked well, what will you do differently next time. 

The most important step however is to be brave and give it a go.. 

..because, sure when we’re faced with something that’s way out of our comfort zone we can think of a million reasons not to do it…but oh how satisfying to take a leap of faith and see the net appear. 

For 1:1 or group coaching on how to add visual facilitation to your toolkit, please get in touch

Getting started with visual facilitation Part 1

Getting started with visual facilitation Part 1

Are you a facilitator who is looking to incorporate hand drawn visuals into your work?

In its purest form visual facilitation is about embedding the use of large scale visual templates into your facilitation process – ideal if you’re looking to take your facilitation practice to the next level and to increase engagement and participation.

Visual facilitation can be conducted as a solo practitioner or by working in tandem with a visual (graphic) recorder. These tips relate to working as a solo practitioner. 

To get started:
1. Remember that the visuals are used as a tool to enhance facilitation – your facilitation skills are more important than your drawing skills.
2. Map out your existing facilitation process – start with a short session you run regularly, perhaps a planning meeting or focus group.
3. Outline your outcomes and timings for each part of the process.
4. Decide which parts of the process are important to be captured visually.
5. Play around with related metaphors and themes – what imagery lends itself well to the topic?
5. Create a series of large templates (if it feels more comfortable to start with flipchart paper then by all means do so) each containing a key question or statement under discussion. More tips on creating templates here. Remember to leave lots of white space! (Tip: Think about your timings and how much content you’d like to capture) If using a template created by someone else be sure to credit them. 

Tune in next week for tips on how to run the session.

Speaking of next week…I am in the process of reviewing my email marketing and I’d love to get your views. Am I emailing too much? too little? Do I mention my open courses too often? not often enough? Do you like the short emails or would you rather a longer one say once a month? Is the content ok or would you like info on other things such as what I’m up to? Let me know! It’s always great to hear from you.