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Collective Visioning


April 22 2015 Community Visioning Swannanoa NC

We know that when societies are organized around a positive vision for their future, they flourish. This ability to manifest what we envision is core to our creative capacity as humans.  Collective Visioning channels that capacity toward community building and empowerment. It involves intentionally bringing people together across divides to generate long-term, expansive solutions.

Understanding the value and power of collective visioning for the future of our communities and our world is critical to our ability to move into action.  Many of us who have worked for change have been focused on creating strategies and plans to address urgent social problems.  By always focusing on the problems, we get locked into patterns of negativity and critique. Our focus is usually on what we are against rather than what we are for.  People who join in the struggle for change often come from a place of anger and fear.  This makes sense given the urgency of the crises facing us, but it is neither sustainable nor inviting.  As a result, many people who might otherwise be engaged in working for social change are turned off by our movements which they see as extremist, negative and judgmental.

When we ground our work in a collective, positive vision, the process builds a strong and connected community.  Not only are we more successful in winning the issues, we transform ourselves, our communities and beyond. We look at what we need to do in a more cooperative, resourceful, and inclusive way than when we are focused on just fixing problems.  While we take into consideration current issues, our ongoing action is strategic and intentional.  Not only does visioning guide our work, it inspires and motivates people to stay in it for the long haul despite the hardships.  It leads us toward lasting, proactive, positive action for change.

Our key building blocks include:

  • Building inclusivity through extensive groundwork: We do the extra work needed beforehand to involve the people who care about or are most affected by the social, economic and environmental challenges facing us. This involves extensive interviews before our gatherings.
  • Creating a welcoming space that builds trust: We are intentional about the space we select, ensuring accessibility and that the needs of participants are met so they can engage fully.  We generate shared agreements and welcome people to share their stories.
  • Developing a shared analysis of the issues: We frame current issues in a social, economic and political context, which ensures that we are functioning from a place of shared analysis and that our action plans are strategic and timely.
  • Leveraging the power of the arts, culture and creative process: Through guided visualization, drawing, theater, music and poetry, people’s imaginations are set free to become aware of, and express, what is possible in our best future.
  • Generating the consensus of the collective:  While every voice is heard and every vision is honored, this process isn’t about individuals achieving what we want; it is about articulating a vision that will provide a positive future for all.
  • Planning for action: Every great vision requires a great plan to make it real. Participants begin to roll up their sleeves and create an action plan that will put them on a path to actualizing their vision.

Click here to request more information on Collective Visioning programs.