Accomplishments: 2023 and Beyond!

What a year this has been! Given the engagement work we did in 2022, the question that drove us in 2023 was the result of what you – our community – told us is important to accomplish in the final years of our 10-year mission.

You told us that the most important thing we can influence is a mindset shift.

  • From reacting to what’s wrong to creating what is possible.
  • From suspecting the worst in each other to embracing and bringing out the best in each other.
  • From scarcity to enoughness.

You told us that to do that, Catalytic Thinking needs to be ubiquitous – everywhere. That means you would need places to learn about Catalytic Thinking; places to connect with other Catalytic Thinking practitioners, and places to be inspired to apply Catalytic Thinking in your own work.

If our 10-year mission will expire at the end of 2026, our approach to accomplishing all that cannot be the norm of designing a program that will live forever. On the contrary, the question that led our work in 2023 was this one:

What will make Catalytic Thinking ubiquitous
if Creating the Future doesn’t exist?

The answer to that question was our focus for 2023, and will be our focus until our 10-year clock runs out.

10 years: Mission Accomplished
The first step in our work this year was to determine what we mean by our 10-year clock. Are we aiming towards taking a deep breath, assessing, and keep going at the 10-year mark? Or are we actually planning to have accomplished everything we might accomplish and be done at the end of that 10 years? 

After applying Catalytic Thinking to that question, the answer was clear.

Almost everything that is possible if we keep going can be accomplished if we set year-end 2026 as a deadline.

However, many of the things that a deadline makes possible cannot be accomplished if we decide to keep going after the 10 years. 

Having determined that yes, we will accomplish the mission by 2026, the next question was, “What will it take for that to be reality?” Much of 2023 was spent working through all the possibilities. What would need to be in place for Catalytic Thinking to a) be ubiquitous and b) not require Creating the Future’s efforts?

The answer, like most of our work at Creating the Future, was a mutual aid / Collective Enoughness approach.

People will learn about Catalytic Thinking where they are already learning – in university classrooms, at nonprofit resource centers, at philanthropy support organizations, via consultants.

People will connect with other Catalytic Thinking practitioners where they are already connecting – all the places noted above and then some.

People will be inspired to apply Catalytic Thinking to their own work where they already find that inspiration – in journals and magazines and newsletters and blogs and podcasts that already feed their souls.

Our work in our final 3 years will therefore be to build a huge library of resources that will outlive the current iteration of Creating the Future. Articles and white papers, video classes and podcasts – any way we can think of to share what we’ve learned about the power of Catalytic Thinking. With those resources in place, we will be engaging folks in all the places we hope will teach and connect and inspire folks, to connect them with these resources.

All that thinking and strategizing and connecting with folks who could guide our thinking – that was a big part of 2023. Where we had thought we were done experimenting, and that this final 3 years would be all about documenting what we’ve learned and sharing it, we find ourselves stepping into perhaps our biggest experiment yet: Finding what it takes to share the implementation of our mission with our whole community. Something huge to stay tuned for in 2024 and beyond!

Teaching Continues (and morphs into what’s next)
Just because we were focused on huge strategic initiatives doesn’t mean we were ignoring the core of our education work. This year was filled with new classes and new ways to share all those education programs – a first step in distributing the implementation of our mission.

We developed two new self-paced classes – one on Catalytic Listening, another on Community Impact Planning. We also completely reconfigured our self-paced class on Collective Enoughness. We then designed webinars around all our classes – not just the new ones – which were produced by partners in our community. The Pennsylvania Association of Nonprofit Orgs (PANO), Local First Arizona, and the Edmonton Chamber of Voluntary Organizations jumped in to share those webinars with their own audiences. This is particularly exciting because it is exactly what we are hoping will happen as we near the final days of our mission!

Fireworks against a dark sky, with 2023 in bright pink across the top.Partnering for Systems Change
The other big project this year was also a partnership. Creating the Future worked with the Edmonton Chamber of Voluntary Organizations, applying Catalytic Thinking to determine what needs to be in place for their community to completely eliminate poverty.

This effort is ongoing and truly exciting. We hope to be able to share more when we step back to look at our accomplishments for 2024!

What’s Up for 2024
Starting in 2024, we will be intently focused on building the infrastructure to support the library of resources that will outlive the current iteration of Creating the Future. We will continue to host webinars and to partner with other like-minded organizations, but our primary focus will be the building the infrastructure needed to support that library.

Our Integrity Body (board) will focus first on applying Catalytic Thinking to hiring practices, as this final 3 years will include hiring and contracting with all sorts of folks to create that library. From there, we will focus on building the infrastructure for Collective Enoughness – sharing resources with those who already have video production and other systems in place, to share the work of creating the library.

For now, though, we are celebrating. 2023 was a year of program design, deep engagement, and sharing what we’ve learned. A year of going slow so that in our final 3 years, we can go fast. We cannot wait to see what comes of it all, and we hope you will continue to be part of the journey!



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