Our Community Responds: What’s Next for Creating the Future? (Questions 2 & 3)

In Part 1 of this post, we shared the responses we have received to Question 1 of our inquiry about the future of this organization. In this post, we are sharing the responses to Questions 2 and 3. (If you have not yet responded to our inquiry, we hope you will do so here. We will continue to update this page as more arrive.)

Question 2: What groups or individuals might be affected if we SHARE WHAT WE’VE LEARNED from experimenting with Catalytic Thinking? Who might be impacted by learning more about Catalytic Thinking? (Questions that include everyone who will be affected vs. narrowing to a “target audience”)

Question 3: For each of the groups you listed in Question 2, what could Creating the Future’s work make possible for those individuals or groups? (Questions that reach for the best possible outcome for the people who will be affected)

Please note: We have made these responses anonymous, deleting any identifying information to protect the privacy of the respondents. 


Question 2) Experimental groups of perhaps 4 women who want to begin growing produce together in their backyards, sharing them as if they were one garden. Together we would investigate the best that could happen, the worst, and list the benefits. We would find out what it would take to make a successful start, even if that means meeting several times so that we could get to know each other’s skills, hesitations and needs before making any decisions about when to do what. These women might have families, e.g. have a husband, be parents or grandparents or have family members and friends who need care. The women’s activities would have an impact on their social contacts.

The women in the group(s) I am envisaging, who would first of all meet in a real or imaginary Rotunda, would be asked such kind of questions they have never asked of themselves and each other before, designed to free up their minds from the limitations they have placed around themselves to expand…into the possibility of doing something entirely different from before, but something that would make their hearts sing because it is in concert with others. Themselves and others who are now thinking of how they can be of service to everyone in their group, and eventually expand from their group to enthuse others…Women who sit in a circle to share, to listen, to feel together, to get up and be of service in a garden, someone’s garden not necessarily their own, growing what gives health and joy.

Question 3) The women backyard gardeners would feel less isolated, working together for a shared set of benefits, learning a basic, essential living skill of working with nature to grow vegetables, herbs, fruits and flowers. This in turn would result in healthier families, more sharing and learning from each other, and perhaps inspiration for others to become involved, e.g. men who are good at creating/building the structures needed in a gardening complex.

As the women feel freer, they can ask themselves more questions to free themselves from a remembered abusive past: Who would you be without your story? (As asked by Byron Katie); What if we saw things differently? What if we knew that everything is possible if we work together and believe in each other? How would we forgive – what would we need to see to be able to forgive someone, something, and ourselves?


Question 2) NGO. Political Leaders. People at top leadership position

Question 3) For all the group, really make change happen


Question 2) Governing Bodies, senior leaders, entrepreneurs.

Question 3) Expanding their thinking, their mindsets, their vision and strengthening their beliefs.


Question 2) The people we work with, friends, family, my organization, other groups I’m affiliated/volunteer with, government officials, business owners, employers, schools/educators, healthcare, nonprofits, financial institutions, housing providers…

Question 3) A more effective way of making plans and meeting goals; trusting relationships with partners and community members (people impacted); values-based decision-making; our work/conversations/volunteering would have greater impact because it’s truly meeting the needs of the people impacted; more fun!


Question 2) In terms of groups or individuals that might be affected or impacted by learning more about Catalytic Thinking, here are my thoughts: individual community members, not-for-profit leaders and consultants, funders, community volunteers including board members, families of those who learn about Catalytic Thinking (including my own!).

Question 3) For what Creating the Future’s work could make possible for different individuals or groups, I would start with looking at my responses to question one because I think it’s similar to what it’s made possible for me that it could make it possible for others. For any individual, Catalytic Thinking makes it possible to listen more effectively and to engage in productive conflict more often, which takes us further, faster in relationships. Ultimately, when we are all listening more deeply for values and always thinking of the best possible outcome, we will each have more happiness, more joy and, at the very end, a much better world.


Question 2) I feel that any group we are associated with can benefit. I have posed some questions to a group of neighbours on our street which are being tossed about right now.

Helping me respond in more positive ways to issues that my kids bring up. My tendency is to brainstorm solutions right away (throw mud at the wall) rather than asking questions which stimulate thinking.

Another neighbour and I wondered what changes we could we make so that we have more fun playing pickup hockey despite the differences in abilities and skill sets on the ice?

Question 3) I believe it will help more fully integrate new residents on the street, who are students and young working people into the seasonal social activities that the neighbours regularly enjoy. I believe that working through issues together rather than making decisions in isolation will defuse fears and enable this new group to participate fully in group activities.

I look forward to responding to my kids by default with questions rather than solutions. This will enable me to be more effective and open up rich ground to explore rather than offering solutions which may or may not be appropriate to their situations.

In answering how could we design a more satisfying experience in seniors pickup hockey, we have introduced working on skills into our schedule which allows us to develop our confidence on the ice. We also have guidelines established that prioritize enjoyment of the game over scoring goals: including everyone on the ice to touch the puck and giving time for weaker players to make a move. New players seem to enjoy the culture that has been created.


Nonprofits with whom I interact. I constantly focus on what we have in abundance rather then scarcity.


Question 2) My organization supports a global network of more than 46,000 changemakers and over 400 communities working intentionally to achieve population or system level change and impact.

Question 3) We would be happy to share tools, resources, approaches and lessons learned about enabling Catalytic Thinking and action. It is one thing to think about it – another thing to create the capacity for intention and action.


Question 2) Vu + Hildy + Creating the Future’s extended networks = social change for the better.

Question 3) Mutual vulnerability and respect. A viable democracy. Life worth living. Flows of funds many orders of magnitude greater than field building or social Justice orgs have traditionally received. A thing and its opposite greatly resemble each other. And complete each other. We can build bridges across difference. Across bonded communities now virtually at war. Unless we do that we will have the equivalent of war and the best of us will be on the losing side. “What does political violence make possible?” I see in Hildy + Vu + Allies a better set of questions and a better future.


Question 2) Our new Center for Community Mediation and Facilitation would really benefit from new thinking. The Board as well as the volunteers could use a boost!

Question 3) I hope that the CCM&F would discover a mission that is wider and deeper than where we currently are, and would find the best people to support our work.


Question 2) Many groups- government agencies – local and state, schools and school boards, local businesses, entrepreneurs, etc.

Question 3) Redesign the steps necessary to achieve their goals.


Question 2) We still live in a world where largely, work – especially paid work is done in the context of already cohesive groups – aka organizations. We are entering into an era where cooperating and collaborating between PEOPLE – individuals who are connected to a range of groups appears to be the emerging frontier… Not sure how to word that better, because it feels very generic, not specific to a niche. We’re discovering that it’s more of a magnetic pull, based on the intentionality and weaving of a well thought out Invitation. So until we [the people I’m working with] get a better sense of the demographics of who is being drawn in, we don’t have more specifics of what the field is telling us. We hope to have data by Dec.

Question 3)  1) The common ground across those two answers, is the power of exploring Values. And, we would like to add, that the work Creating the Future does to get explicit on codifying those values while crucial, doesn’t have to come first, but rather can get woven into conversations connected to the matrix, in terms of what we’re discovering over here. So… we would add in 2) That Creating the Future identifies the pieces of the puzzle (not necessarily a fixed formula or methodology or sequence) that bring Values-Centred conversations to the forefront. Specifically what it takes to get to common ground / shared values. Conditions which can be reordered, to explore more deeply when interests differ.


Question 2) Nonprofit leaders and those who work with them

Question 3) Many parts of the nonprofit model are broken, the board model, the donor centric model, the overhead model… Everyone’s searching for a new way to think about each of these issues.


Question 2) I approached this question from the backside … who would not be impacted or influenced by Catalytic Thinking if the opportunity to engage is offered? It’s like in my personal growth work, my therapist has me asking the question: “What’s not wrong here?” So, working from the pinnacle (i.e. everyone having access to Catalytic Thinking models) backwards, I can’t think of any groups or individuals who would not benefit … nor can I think of anyone who would be negatively impacted by engaging in life or life’s work by viewing it through a broader lens for from a different perspective.

Question 3) What does your work make possible? A broader vision, more tolerance, greater acceptance, alternative perspectives, the offer and receipt of grace and belonging.


Question 2) Anyone who would like to see something be different. It really feels that broad!

Question 3) create a clear and actionable pathway to change
create the hope and safety necessary to even be willing to consider change
create a community of people who are also going through it – whatever it is


Question 2) I think governments, systems could benefit from stepping outside of their structures and imagining something different. I also think many of the agencies I deal with would do well to look at the same.

Question 3) I think I would need to come back to looking in more detail at what you’re already doing right now, but some basic introduction to process and step by step would help me!


Question 2) Unfortunately, all I can say is everyone could be affected by learning more about Catalytic Thinking. In my work I’ve taught Catalytic Thinking to many people, not always using the same terminology. Recently I came across some people who have a hard time with it. They got the idea of starting with the highest possible outcome, but were stumbling over articulating the conditions and so on down the line. It felt like “homework”. I’m still thinking through how I can address that challenge. I think Catalytic Thinking, as it’s currently framed, works well with people who think linearly; who are process oriented. But the framework is so useful and important, that I want to think of ways to present it so that it’s not intimidating to those who don’t think that way.


Question 2) Members of the Creating the Future community, individuals or groups members of Creating the Future community interact or use Catalytic Thinking, individuals and groups impacted by Catalytic Thinking.

Individuals and groups working on social change, working toward making communities better, individuals working on making their lives better, individuals and groups working on change efforts. 

Question 3) Creating the Future’s work would make it possible for these individuals and groups to achieve their desired results and create the conditions needed to get the ball rolling. They would have the tools and questions they need to help them be successful and work through the times when things get hard and the drama comes up in any change efforts.


Consultations and stakeholder considerations have too often taken the easy road and listened to people in power, as individuals or as spokespersons for their organizations. Traditional thinking doesn’t require that we do our best to reach and listen to those without formal power and without designated spokespersons. Catalytic Thinking doesn’t let us off so easily. We have to find a way to reach/convene/empower natural leaders in their communities, and even community groups that may have to be created in order to be consulted.

Doing that well means respectfully involving communities of people living in poverty, particularly Indigenous and racialized minorities living in poverty. In some stakeholder groups, such as persons with disabilities and transgendered persons, poverty is the norm.  One, repeat one, authentic, respectful conversation can sometimes make people believe their ideas and issues have a chance of being addressed. Coming back to us, that means we must be accountable and communicate back, preferably often, to let them know what is happening with regard to their issues. And catalytic thinker facilitators can identify people who would be very valuable at the REAL decision-making tables, and push to get them included/invited. 

The impact of addressing the issues of those stakeholders is felt by family, caregivers, friends, local businesses, social service agencies – just about everyone in a community, local or global.


Question 2) The board of directors I’m on for a nonprofit. The nonprofit leaders I’m working with at my employer.

Question 3) For the board, how we better track the information of what we do, and how we more cohesively serve our clients. Also, problem solving. For the nonprofit leaders, how to better engage our membership that we serve.


Question 2)  Well, I’d hope that these aren’t what I heard described recently as luxury beliefs – things that reasonably comfortable professionals or those who are doing OK in life can afford to hold and recommend but are costlier for others. So I hope that the people impacted are those who our current systems are failing: people for who community and alternatives to our current systems might most benefit. I’m conscious that there is a risk that this is really patronising, so there’s got to be a sense that our idealism and imagination are blended with realism and a practical sense of how to change things.

Question 3)  We’ve learned that it’s OK to think things can change. That they can be different or better. And that we have agency and that we aren’t just subject to structures or abstract forces like ‘government’ or ‘the economy’. Catalytic Thinking won’t change the world, and neither will Creating the Future. But we are tools or ways of thinking that will help the people who will change their world – and if we can help people to change things for the better, that’s a good thing.


Question 2) There has to be a way to reach the masses. I see this happening primarily through schools (from pre-K to higher education).

Question 3) There is a world of possibility. As a society, we teach (and require students to learn) what we consider to be important. We have to focus on the importance of catalytic thinking and it has to be considered fundamental to moving society forward.


Question 2) I would like to go more in depth about Catalytic thinking and share it with my staff.

Question 3) To apply it to their relationships both with the staff and our clients.


Question 2) People in the creating the future community especially. Perhaps boards of directors of nonprofits. Perhaps people who are working in nonprofit effectiveness. People who want to understand the process of change and resistance to change.

Question 3)  People who have been part of the community, people who like me were immersed and advocated for this work, we would understand what has evolved from that and possibly feel more connected.

Boards of directors or people who want to see orgs make real progress versus spending half their time “managing the board” could imagine a different future.

People who care about nonprofit effectiveness as defined by community benefit would be inspired. Possibly there are learnings they could integrate into their models and tool kits and convenings.

People who want to understand readiness might have language and frameworks to guide ways they language things that match with and facilitate shifts in mindset.


Question 2)  The entire Creating the Future community will be affected, and by extension their networks (personal, professional, volunteer). Beyond that, the “lurkers” who watch from the shadows, the “sharers” who repost/circulate content, the “skeptics” who are waiting for the success stories and ‘eureka’ moments, and the “naysayers” who have never believed this community can and will accomplish what our mission sets out – these will be affected.

There is no shortage of audiences who might be impacted by learning more about catalytic thinking. I can’t think of a system, sector, group, or individual who wouldn’t be impacted in some way. Practitioners, academics, elected officials, public servants, volunteers, media, policy makers, advocates, professionals in all realms, lawmakers, funders, so-called watchdogs, grassroots organizers, congregations, families, classrooms, community groups, memberships…really, who wouldn’t be impacted??

Question 3)  It makes possible so many things. Here are my immediate thoughts…

Systemic change
Empowered voices
Better listening
Better engagement
An understanding of impact
Conceptualizing “reverse engineering” as a concrete tool
Reframing discussions to get out of the weeds and consider highest potential
Highlights commonalities rather than differences
And, if we take this list and apply Catalytic Thinking further, it makes everything possible!!

A few additional thoughts:
By referring to “experiments” are we minimizing the actual success that Catalytic Thinking has genuinely achieved? Does it imply continuous tweaking without any success? I’m not sure. I have had people ask me whether Creating the Future has been successful, and I wonder what the measure of that is? Sharing what we’ve learned is, of course, one measure of success. And sharing how it’s been applied, where it’s made a difference, what yardsticks it’s moved, etc. would perhaps add weight. I guess I’m saying don’t minimize how powerful the “learnings” have been in tangible, concrete ways.


Question 2) Some of the entrepreneur spaces like TenWEST, Startup Tucson, or the University of Arizona Forge (https://forge.arizona.edu/) might offer ways to share Catalytic Thinking with new groups of people. I would also be interested in a train-the-trainer class to learn how to teach Catalytic Thinking.

Question 3) Radical visioning and creating an actionable plan working backwards from that vision, rather than planning from a narrowly focused what-is-possible-now mindset.


Question 2) The issue of getting-to-scale remains foremost in my mind. Most nonprofits and community coalitions aim large, however impact small. They are enormously beneficial for those they reach, yet rarely approach or key abreast of the enormity of the issue area they profess to tackle in their mission and vision statements. They are clearly not asking themselves and others the right questions, nor holding a space within which unexpected and possibly amazing results are realizable.

Question 3) I am not sufficiently familiar with the latest learnings from Creating the Future to respond fully. My intuition would suggest that there are several case studies that have emerged from your work that could illuminate what going to scale looks like in 2022.


Question 2) I think that the nonprofit sector would benefit greatly–from leaders and board members to fundraising professionals and consultants.

Question 3) It could make possible better understanding of the complexities and multiple stakeholder needs in a nonprofit institution; more sensitivity; more collaboration.


Question 2) Only everyone.

Question 3) I’d like to think that Catalytic Thinking could lead to people and groups becoming “unstuck” and being able to move from the good they are currently able to bring about to even better, more effective solutions.


Question 2) More grass roots social innovators!

Question 3) I’m still learning … so ask me again in a few weeks!!


Question 2) Good question. I think it could be applied to anyone setting strategy and direction. Choosing those people might be more about values alignment and cultural fit than based on method.

Question 3) Could create a new way to think about their future and give them a sense of control over the uncertainty we live in.


Question 2) Professionals in defined subject matter areas such as community planning, law, finance, public policy, etc, to contemplate new approaches within their respective fields. For example: what does Catalytic Thinking make possible for an Urban Planner? What does Catalytic Thinking make possible for Real Estate Development? What does Catalytic Thinking make possible for a Financial Planner/Guru? etc….

Question 3) Catalytic Thinking would reveal entirely new insights regarding the systems that influence their respective professions, and new approaches that could advance positive change in complex issues within each realm.


Question 2) Development teams would be encouraged if there was a clear breakdown of the awesome applications of this thinking in their day to day work. Maybe thinking about what a roadmap/toolkit from Devo point of view could look like could help with dissemination.

Question 3) It could make change feel possible. Because often amid scarcity mindset and deadlines and budget goals, it’s hard to see how to do this work while just trying to hold everything together!


Question 2) Anyone. I’m thinking, individuals at their personal level can use Catalytic Thinking for their daily lives/struggles; politicians can use it to create policies that focus on what is already set up, what works, what can be improved upon, and what can need to change completely; companies can benefit from it to start moving away from personal gains and focus on social benefits, on common good; nonprofit organizations can benefit by looking into their strategic plans or theories of change and use this thinking to move from business as usual to what is next to move the needle; etc.

Anyone can benefit and be impacted by this work. It is a mindset change that could create a ripple effect and set individuals, communities, organizations, societies, etc. in a new path where challenges are seen as possibilities, where common goals are set for the greater good, and where the focus is the community, not the individual.

Question 3) I have share that above, but one more thought: it is about realizing and internalizing that we are all in this together, that we are more connected that what we might think, that if we don’t start thinking in those collective terms, none of us is going to thrive. Catalytic Thinking set us in that spot. That’s why I am in awe with this work, and it has accompanied me through all my decisions to make sure we can create the future that we want. Catalytic Thinking has been life changing.


Question 2) I’ve been extremely interested in the voices of young people within the student populations of middle school and high school. They’ve been affected by things in the last five years that are unprecedented and the way their thoughts have been shaping are important to understand. Seniors as well have been struggling with accepting such drastic changes. Different ethnicities are also concerned about where they are and how they can be more understood. Persons in public service and non-profit organizations are in a position to be more heavily dealing with the public in all areas and can benefit from lessons in Catalytic Thinking.

Question 3) For young voices Catalytic Thinking could allow for them to have an opportunity to share their current thoughts related to what is impacting them in education and public life. Seniors generally want to share history, and this is very important not necessary to replicate but to learn from what may have been and what things may become. In many instances great ideas come from elders, especially ones who tried to make changes and failed but those ideas are still relevant in Creating the Future.


Question 2) In the current state of America, I think organizations that focus on minorities in urban areas, serving immigration populations and women’s healthcare are at the greatest risk and could use the power and network of what’s possible with Catalytic thinking.

Question 3) I think providing a thread to connect the organizations listed above will help lift the collective spirit, drive and results of the CBOs that will be pushed to their limits like never before (regardless of how the election goes). What it makes possible is activating the communities and members that support the organizations by providing new solutions to ever growing problems.


Question 2)

    1. organizations undergoing reflections on their direction and role in the broader ecosystem
    2. foundations engaging in traditional M&E (monitoring and evaluation) and organizational strengthening support for the field

Question 3)

    1. paradigm shift that helps align on future vision and collective resources (including knowledge and leadership)
    2. More flexible and grounded approaches to organizational learning and evolution, always connected to how we collectively contribute to social transformation (rather than M&E and org strengthening as a goal in itself)


Question 2) Nonprofits, businesses of all sizes who are keyed in on serving their members/clients. In other words, organizations and businesses that put people first.

Question 3) Even if it just makes me think about how they do everything from processes to being more focused on who they serve and why rather than simply looking at metrics.


Question 2) A group that comes to mind for me are Directors of Diversity and Inclusion from independent schools. Another group I’m thinking of are school leaders and teachers of color.

Question 3) For both of these groups I believe that Catalytic Thinking would leverage the way they navigate the political intensity that is now part of being an educator.


Question 2) I believe that, if we share what we’ve learned, broadly, there shouldn’t be anyone who isn’t affected. At one time, it was thought that human beings had six degrees of separation. In the age of internet-based social media, that separation has diminished greatly, and we’ve learned the hard way that people learn their behaviors from others no matter what their age or level of education. As pernicious as bad information and bad citizenship has become, I think sharing what we’ve learned can help to halt the progression of this entropy, and turn us back into civilized people.

Question 3) I believe that putting decisions in the hands of those most closely affected by the outcomes will lead to impactful results. No one knows a situation and its problems better than those who are closest to it. Embracing our core values and promoting them with confidence and positivity models the behaviors we want to see others adopt. We are the very models of how we want our world to be. In my work, I deal with individuals who tend toward panic and negativity. I meet their anxiety with calm positivity, and take the time to talk through their problem with them. It is palpable how calm and daring they become when their questions are not just answered but actually worked through with them. With that support, they venture out on their own and promote the same outlook. There is literally no one who cannot benefit from this process.


Question 2) I believe EVERYONE would benefit from what you learned. Everyone who is interested in learning, and willing to listen with an open mind, that is.


Question 2) I imagine most consultants dealing with boards and strategic planning would find it most useful.

Question 3) New ways of thinking about things helps us think of more things!


Question 2) Everyone can benefit if we just give this thinking a good chance


Question 2) Non-profit leaders and consultants.

Question 3) Expand thought, remove barriers, think behind the constraint of dollars.


Question 2) Defund the Police groups, parents working to influence schools, community civic groups, movement organizations working on international issues like Palestine

Question 3) We need to stop doing what we’ve always done or what we believe is “right” and start learning about what actually works to create change.


Question 2) Nonprofits. Nonprofit Consultants.

Question 3) Nonprofits: greater willingness to TRULY collaborate; moving out of the scarcity mindset; and ultimately, greater impact in addressing social challenges

NP Consultants: greater awareness of how the way we approach clients, potential clients, and projects can be impacted by our underlying thought framework, increased willingness to collaborate with “competitors,” bringing more value and increasing the social impact of our work.


Question 2) Higher education students, especially, but not only, mature learners with a heart for some social change they want to make – and who have a flexible degree structure to enable self-directed/self-determined learning

People organising around issues of race, gender, disability, climate change, poverty – any social, cultural, environmental issues

Question 3) Potentially two things:

    1. flipping a mindset from despair around obstacles to finding hope, grounded in possible ways forward
    2. some helpful framing of processes to both expand possibility thinking and get from vision to action


Question 2) Anyone who keeps thinking that more money is the answer. Any groups that are struggling to finding meaning and hope in a world that benefits a tiny minority.

Question 3) A realization that the resources they seek are closer than they think! That all it takes is to reach out and do more asking by realizing that we are all one and the same being manifesting as an infinitely long TV series with endless episodes and seasons across time and space! The drama appears to be real but the vicissitudes of life are just a dance of light and shadow. Let’s have fun re-imagining the shared dream!


Question 2) This is always where I get a little tripped up. In marketing speak, the adage is, “If your product is for everyone, then it’s not really for anyone (specific).” But I feel that Catalytic Thinking could benefit so many different people and groups domestically and around the world in all parts of society. So the real question (in my mind) is: How do we prioritize where to start with broadening the awareness of Catalytic Thinking? (I think we’re starting with people already aware of Creating the Future and its work — and I would love to better understand who they are.)

Question 3) If they are interested and open to it, learning more about Catalytic Thinking could those people/groups to more clearly understand their situations and approach decisions that have been difficult (or seem impossible) from a new vantage point to ultimately help them move forward.


Question 2) Honestly pretty much everyone, but particularly any leaders and employees of community serving organizations that tend to work with few resources and are continually expected to do more with less. As we move out of the pandemic phase of Covid into an endemic phase, this is a good time to realign our thinking because the reality is that we all have to do more with less.

Question 3)  I think the most important thing that Catalytic Thinking makes possible is that it provides a pragmatic way to move out of a reactive cycle into a transformational cycle. It helps us shift our focus from myopic, immediate problem solving to big picture outcomes that are absolutely possible when we identify the future we want and then we move towards it with courage and resilience.


Question 2) Organizations like ours are impacted by your sharing what you have learned. We are now into our 20th year of serving, and the sustainability of this organization is connected with Catalytic Thinking. It is serving people now across the country in ways that impact the quality of their being, their lives, and their contribution to their work and community. More organizations like ours would benefit from this work. Board members of these organizations would benefit from your work.

Question 3) This makes the people who access this kind of learning to have greater impact in a faster way. Time is not lost going back to what did not work. Accessing audacious dreams in this way can help possibilities find form that would not otherwise. People get discouraged with no change after all their efforts. Change would happen more quickly and lead to more change. It is absolutely essential in our times that we think like this and live in these kinds of questions with the energy of what is possible always in our minds, hearts, and in our collective experience together. Thank you for your work and for including me in this process. I am so grateful for all of you and for your continued willingness to do this work in the world.


Question 2) MPA and PhD students, faculty and staff, university and association administrators, community organization leaders, elected and appointed public officials — pretty much everyone :).

Question 3) They’d have a guide/tool for having conversations and making decisions that are based on abundance, future thinking; then being able to consider actions that align with that future direction.


Question 2) Local leadership could benefit from Catalytic Thinking. I imagine the possibilities that could be achieved if city councils, school boards, county commissioners, mayors, and municipal judges led by focusing on the possible for the sake of service for all. I believe the result would be a public who would feel truly served by leadership instead of being disenfranchised.

Question 3) From the national to local level, fear permeates the decision-making process. We pick against the unknown, the lesser of two evils, or based on the dog whistles that trigger implicit biases based on age, gender, socio-economic status, religion, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, disability, native language, national origin, or citizenship status. Catalyst Thinking could impower people to face and learn about the unknown, put our implicit biases in their proper perspective and see possible, even amongst the two evils.


Question 2) I can’t think of a group or individual, of any age, that would not be affected or impacted in a positive way by CTF sharing what’s been learned through this amazing global experiment.

Question 3) At the simplest level…humanity at its best! A path to hearing one another’s stories, a path to put value on taking time with another human being, a path to seeing that we all want similar basic things in our communities, a path to not over complicating everything, a path to remembering we are a global community with beautiful talents and strengths to share, a path to peace and abundance.


Question 2) Any team interested in organizational sustainability, including the valuing of employees and the building of internal relationships can benefit from Creating the Future’s sharing and guidance. I volunteer with 3 non-profits. From where I sit, all of these orgs could benefit from your expertise, especially as all three commit to DEI initiatives. I see inauthenticity as a barrier at times, though all orgs have very talented board and staff.

Question 3) From my current work with the board of a local organization, there are current challenges with staff turnover related to leadership actions and behaviors. As I reflect on the 4 R’s of Culturally Responsive-Sustaining Education — rigor, relevance, relationship, reflection — there are significant gaps with “relationship” (building, sustaining, supporting, valuing) and “reflection” (authentic individual and group reflection, with the true valuing of diverse voices reflected in next steps and patterns over time). Creating the Future’s focus on active, deep listening, and other proactive and inclusive actions and behaviors, would offer an org choices that have the potential for positive impact and observable change over time.


Question 2) Boards of nonprofit organizations could profoundly benefit from Catalytic Thinking.

Question 3) Boards of nonprofit would benefit because their fundamental job is to ask the right questions. In my experience working with boards, they often start at the wrong places and as a result solve for things that aren’t the fundamental problem/issue (how do we find more money, not what can we accomplish and who would care). They are fixing symptoms, not the root issues. As well, many board members feel the need to solve immediate problems instead of stepping back and visioning/wondering ‘what if’? Finally, I think boards have as many different assumptions driving their decisions and choices as there are board members because they don’t openly explore the individual mindsets, values and understandings about the intent of governance. There is a governance culture, it’s often just not named. Asking catalytic questions gets at all these limitations holding back the potential of boards to do governance differently.


Question 2) Those we serve in my day role as a community advisor working with groups, organisations and individuals who are working to bring about change in the tangata whenua, community and social services space. People who experience barriers to achieving their vision for their future

Question 3) Whatever they (individually and collectively) can imagine!


Question 2) Everyone would be, but I think it’d be very useful to people who are interested in doing things differently but feel stuck on how to actually do that or have a hard time letting go of established ways of thinking/doing. This would include those who are seen as leaders, experts, or influencers (particularly I’m thinking of the nonprofit sector).

Question 3) It would demonstrate or guide people to actually shift their behaviours to align with the various commitments or purposes they hold in their work and life.


Question 2) Community based orgs, NFPs and NGOs – individual community development practitioners and those wanting to make real, radical change in their communities.

Question 3) A freeing up of time spent on the endless task of traditional fundraising, making time for community & relationship building. An impact on competitive mindsets (which honestly we are finding really hard to break!) that are detrimental to community building and on deficit focused thinking and the way it affects how things get done (and don’t get done).


Question 2) Nonprofit organization leaders–both staff and board members if it can be delivered in digestible and accessible formats. I’m especially concerned about the next gen of executive directors/CEOs getting the coaching and learning opportunities that they and their organizations deserve.

Question 3) To become more effective in their roles and to better understand how to be the best possible stewards for their missions. I think anything that helps those folks not get stuck in the same old, same old thinking is a very good thing. My eternal hope is that we’ll be less transactional and by stimulating more strategic thinking and generative conversations, organizations and their boards will be transformed.


Question 2) Based on my experience as an educator, I find that the best way to understand the impact of this work is to experience yourself. It is hard to fully see its potential when someone just tells you about it. I honestly think all groups would benefit from it – nonprofit, government, for-profit businesses. I think those in leadership positions could particularly benefit from it, e.g. Superintendents, CEOs, etc. Perhaps they could then support developing a culture of Catalytic Thinking.

Question 3) As I mentioned, I think experiencing the work first-hand is the most impactful vs sharing what has been learned. Having said that, perhaps “case studies” where non-catalytic thinking vs catalytic thinking is applied might be an interesting way to explore this. Juxtaposition of scenarios can be powerful. Perhaps first person digital stories/short videos where people talk about what Catalytic Thinking made possible could be powerful. It is hard to say what this would make possible, as it would likely be different for different folks. At the very least, it would provide them with a mirror to look at their own thinking and a window into new ways of thinking and doing.


At our November Integrity Team meeting, a group of us considered all the incredible responses you all have shared, seeking common threads. You can see a summary of that meeting here. The next step is the one that will turn all these aspirations into action – determining the conditions that will lead to the success you all have defined here. That will happen via real-time Zoom conversations. To learn more about those conversations and sign up to join in, head to this link

Photo credit: Alan Levine via Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0) license 

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.