The skills that the EFSCDP provides will allow participants to understand and address at the regional and sub-regional levels, the wide variety of possible futures that may arise over time as circumstances change. To provide these skills EFSCDP will offer four specialized sessions to its stakeholders:
This session describes how state and federal grant programs will likely change to encourage and support regional and sub-regional planning efforts and the necessity for developing trust among regional and sub-regional planning partners. The session will also provide a framework of how trust is developed and allow the participants to explore how a series of trust-building “baby steps” can overcome generational or, deeply rooted distrust. Key features include understanding and articulating requirements and expectations plus recourse measures other than partnership dissolution.
This session engages the participants in an exercise to place themselves and their communities in a temporal context. Using participant-constructed wall displays and facilitation by trained staff, the participants will collaboratively develop a timeline for their community, including both public and personal events, to show how the community arose and developed to the present day, what the salient characteristics of the community are today, and the desired futures envisioned by participants for themselves and the community. In this process, the world café process will alternate with integrated sessions to allow the participants to interact broadly and deeply with one another so as to develop shared insights.
This session introduces Scenario Planning, which is a technique that has been successfully used by Shell and the Global Business Network for forty years. It is based on identifying the external events that can drive change in the system under study; determining ranges over which those drivers could reasonably be expected to change in the time frame under study; and evaluating the system effects of multiple interacting changes in these drivers. The end result is a small number, ideally less than ten, scenarios or possible future pathways. Each of these is given a title that is evocative of its significant features, and the participants then develop plans for responding to these scenarios. Ideally, the participants will leave this session with a set of conceptual plans for recognizing and responding to trigger events that lead to these different alternative futures in such a way as to optimize community goals and harmonize them with goals articulated in the Future Search.
This session brings together all the concepts developed in previous sessions. Participants will explore real or notional strategic planning partnerships among the attendees using real data, local action plans, future search outcomes, and scenario planning factors to jointly develop regional/sub-regional strategic action plans with prioritized, strategically-sequenced economic development projects. A key feature of each team’s plan will be to ensure that resilience, sustainability and feasibility are embedded within the plan. EFSCDP staff will follow up with each team to assist with revising, extending and implementing the plans.