Creating the Future is a collection of people around the world, supporting each other in a 10 year experiment in systems change.
Our Mission: Teach people how to change the systems they find themselves in, to aim those systems at bringing out the best in people, all by changing the questions they ask.
The experiment: To apply Catalytic Thinking in a variety of settings, and to share what we learn from those experiments - so that everyone, everywhere, has questions that bring out the best in each other, in any situation.
Our Plan: Highlights
- Be an experiment in what it takes to move beyond incremental, reactive work, to create a world that works for everyone.
- Broadly share what we've learned about what it takes to create systems change, so that anyone can change the systems they find themselves in, to aim those systems at bringing out the best in people.
- Provide support for people to learn, support each other’s work, share stories
- Advocate for systems change within the social change arena, so that the systems that support social change propel change forward vs. inadvertently thwarting that change.
- Monitor and adjust. Be agile to allow for movement-wide learning and adaptation.
The Plan: Details
Creating the Future is about the very largest meaning of "systems change" – changing the broad variety of human systems that define how people be with each other. Those systems could be societal / community systems, organizational systems, or the systems we create in our own families.
If the systems that guide our actions in the day-to-day situations we all encounter are bringing out the best in each other, we will all be creating a more humane world simply by being more humane with each other.
Creating the Future is therefore a grand experiment:
If people everywhere change the questions they ask in their day-to-day lives, to create conditions that bring out the best in themselves and those around them, how much change could that create in the world? What might the world look like if there is a highly intentional effort to create those conditions over a period of 10 years?
Our plan therefore has two interconnected paths:
- Experiment and push boundaries. Explore ways of working and being together that bring out the best in all of us.
- Share what we learn. Provide every opportunity for people to learn what it takes to change the everyday systems they find themselves in. Provide opportunities for them to practice and support each other in those new ways of being. Provide the tools and support people need, so they can change the systems that will change the world, in small ways and large ways.
The programs and structures that carry out that plan will be emergent and agile as possible. We see that agile support as the key condition for success of the mission, ensuring individuals have what they need to take Catalytic Thinking into their lives and their work, to change systems in ways that make sense to them. (For our definition of "systems change," click here.)
The actions that will create conditions for people’s success:
For people to have confidence to change the questions they ask, to lead from the middle to create systemic change, people must
- have confidence that someone is researching and testing what works to bring out the best in others, applying that research to real systems in ways that are directly relevant to them.
- learn what they can do (and how to do it), to create conditions that bring out the best in themselves and others, in all situations.
- see what those positive conditions look like in real life situations, so they can envision how that might fit in their own lives
- be in community with others who are working to bring out the best in their own lives, for support in their own journey and to bring out the best in others.
Our programs therefore include:
Research, development, experimentation into systems that create conditions for people to be at their best.
Sharing what we learn, teaching what it takes to create conditions for success in our own lives, our work, our communities. Demonstrating and sharing stories, so that people can see what it looks like when systems are bringing out the best in people, to apply to their own situations. Convening and building community, so that people can support each other and have a safe place to practice new ways of being.
By scaling these programs to ripple out and touch as many people in as many locations as possible, Creating the Future will model its work after successful movements for change (vs successful organizations). That is our plan of action. And a major first step in that plan is to ensure that the organization’s structure is built and maintained as a support to those ripples.
Measuring Our Results
At the end of 2026, we will look back to determine what has changed. We do not pretend that we will be able to attribute change to our efforts alone; attribution of systemic change to any one group is counterproductive, as it is only together that lasting change can happen. However, there are markers we will be considering, to know if our work has contributed to a more humane world overall. You can find those markers here.
In our view, though, we will know our mission has been accomplished when people who have never heard of Creating the Future are asking questions that bring out the best in each other, in systems that bring out the best in humanity.
It will simply be “the way we do things.”