IAF Methods


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To enable a group to begin to grasp the implications of a future
situation for their operation as they move toward that situation.
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To enable a group to share their different perspectives concerning
the implications of a future situation that their organisation
or group is moving toward. To empower the group by enabling them to see their commonality in facing the future.


You will be able to upload attachments once after you create the method.


  • A sticky wall or something like that so you can put a lot of
  • data on. Otherwise a large wall where you can use A5 post-its
  • or A5 cards with tape loops. In addition you need:
  • several hundred A5 cards in four different colours (number depends
  • on the size of the group).
  • Mixed colours, broad tip magic markers?enough for everyone.


Pre-Work Required: Preparation of flip charts, creating wall space with four columns,
each with a title.


1. Introduce yourself, tent cards for the group. 
2. Introduce your organisation
3. What we are going to do
This morning we are going to look at the current operating situation
of our organisation. However, we are going to do that with
some understanding of what we are anticipating for our work in
the years of [whatever future point has been designated]. The
idea is to use our understanding of the needs of the organisation at
that point in the future to inform our grasp of our current situation
and where we might need to focus our efforts in the
near term. We are going to move through a four-step process that looks like this:
--Brainstorm the current working situation of the
-- Then we will journey in time to [insert designated time] to share our intuitions about what we feel will be the working situation of the organisation at that time.
--Then we will come back to today and ask ourselves: What are the implications for today of what do we see as the working situation of the organisation at that time??

We will perform these steps relatively quickly and not discuss our individual responses beyond addressing questions of clarity. The idea here is to trust our intuitions and each other. The final steps will involve a lot of discussion so we need to quickly
do the first three steps, which give us the raw material for our conversations.

The fourth and final step will happen in two parts. We will do the first part in small groups. We will ask each group to look at the current situation of the organisation and the current implications list and identify two or three crucial gaps between these two lists. Then they would look at the implications of these gaps for the organisation's work.

I thought that an example from another organisation of all this might be helpful.

A characteristic of the organisation today is Board, Secretariat, Members roles not defined.

A future characteristic is Active, committed membership

A current implication of the future characteristics is well functioning communication between office staff, member organisations and the Board of Directors

The gap is no clarity on role of members, Board, Secretariat and their functional relations

Then we will come back together, share our work in the small groups, and reflect on the general significance of the gaps and their implications for the organisation.


I want each of you to answer this first question:
What are some characteristics of the current working situation
of the organisation??
I want you to think, negative, positive, strengths, weaknesses, good at, not so good at, easy/proficient at, not so easy/not so proficient at, etc. In addition, we want practical/concrete things, something like not very effective is not helpful while "difficult intersection communications" tells us something.

Try to get half a dozen or so of these, then look over the list, and decide which two or three are crucial for the operation of the organisation. We want to put these crucial ones on a _____ coloured card (decide on which colour to use for this). Use a marker and WRITE BIG/5-7 WORDS/ONE ITEM PER CARD.


Now we want to do some time travel.

visualization for [insert future date].

Now answer this question.

What do you intuit will be the working situation of the organisation in the context of the [insert future date]? Try to list at least 6 or 7 ideas.

From your list,  select the three or four that you feel most confident about (you would bet money on these being true for [insert future date]. Put these on these on the ____coloured cards and get them out on the wall. Get them on the wall by collecting them and reading them out as you put them up one-by-one so that everyone has a chance to hear and see them. Answer questions of clarity.

Now looking at what we have for [insert future date] answer this question, 

What kind of organisation do we need to be today if we are going to be that kind of organisation in [insert future date]?? Again, try to get 5 or 6 insights, pick the most crucial, put those on (third colour) cards, and get them on the wall. Answer questions of clarity.


Divide into four small groups (ensure a mix of people). In the small groups, you should do the following.
1. Look at the current situation and the implications for today from [insert future date] and discuss where you see differences. Out of that discussion, push to identify 2 or 3
crucial gaps in the current situation of the organisation.

2. As part of identifying the gaps, say what you see as potential implication(s) of the gap for the immediate future of the organisation.

Put these gaps and their implications on the cards provided and have someone ready to report to the larger group.

Put your work on the wall..

Have each group report on their work and answer any questions of clarity..

Do the following reflection:
a. What words or phrases have caught your attention?
b. What images have come to mind?
c. Where did you start to feel excited?
d. Where did you start to feel anxious?
e. Where have you heard something like this before?
f. Which one is a major challenge?
g. What one would be an easy fix?
h. Which one, if you dealt with it, might be catalytic?
i. In terms of action, which one would you make your
first priority? Second priority? Third priority?
j. Stepping back to look at the whole picture, how would
you summarize in a few words the current situation of the
k. Again stepping back, how would you talk about the
general implication of this picture for the organisation?

Finally, if you were God of the organisation and there were no blocks, what would be your three-point plan for the organisation?


Have wall space set up with four columns but put up column titles as you do the work.
Have A5 cards and markers on table for name tents.
Have questions on flip chart
Have ground rules posted if you are recommending some to the group.
Have question on flip chart.
.Have cards and markers ready.
.Have these three instructions on cards to post.
Have coloured cards ready.

Put up column title in four column and place cards in the four columns.

Put up column title and place cards in the third column..

Put up column title and place the cards in the first column..

Divide small groups, ensure mix of people


Source: Jim Campbell

Derived from: unknown

History of Development: Deeloped by Jim Campbell jim.campbell@icab.be

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