Normally visioning is the first step in creating a powerful strategy to achieve a desirable future or a particular purpose. In a visioning process citizens and stakeholders are brought together, thus visioning is a participatory tool to develop a shared vision of the future. Central questions in a visioning process are: Where are you now and where can you realistically expect to be in the future? The aim of a visioning process is to develop written and visualized statements of a community’s long term goals and strategic objectives in the interested field.
Usually visioning is used after the problem and situation analysis has been completed and before the detailed planning and decision making process with the involved stakeholders has started. The results of the problem and situation analysis serve as the definition of State A (Where are we now?). The outcomes of a visioning workshop describe State B (Where do we want to be?). “Visioning can be used at any stage to help clarify where the activity is going and to decide whether the activity design needs to be changed for the vision to be achieved.” (DFID 2013) The visioning process should be implemented before decisions are made. A visioning process can last one or several days, even months. It depends on the complexity of issues facing the community.
This method can be time consuming. For an appropriate implementation of the method creative material such as large sheets of white paper and colored flipchart pens are required. The Participants should have a good knowledge of the sector, region, area or country, etc. under analysis.
“Visioning is a method for determining a compelling vision of a preferred future.” (Jackson 2013). Thus, the outcome of a visioning process includes some pictures that communicate in a very powerful way the preferred future and benefits of the future. A visioning process can also help to show the dependencies between different factors that shape the future.
Pros and cons
- Visioning inspires, engages and enables most people.
- Excellent for generating ideas, encouraging interaction and agreeing common vision, values, processes and goals.
- Requires solid communication and continued strong leadership from the outset.
- Must be lived, shared, stretching but achievable and ethical.
(see Jackson 2013)
This method can be used if the participants speak different languages and/ or is many of the participants are illiterate. Pictures can be a very powerful way to show the relationships between different components and to visualize positive aspects of an activity. “Poetry, music or drama to aid the Visioning process can supplement the use of pictures.” (DFID 2013)
Graphic Facilitation can help to visualize a vision.