GrantBook, a Toronto based Benefit Corporation, helps philanthropic foundations embrace technology to improve grantmaking. In 2018, one of the Directors was facing the challenge of envisioning GrantBook’s future revenue streams.
The Director and team practiced the Field of the Future exercise to bring new insights on future possibilities and priorities for revenue generation.
What is the Field of the Future Exercise?
The Field of the Future is a mindful group embodiment and sensing exercise (in Theory U’s Social Presencing toolkit), using the social body to bring a future vision into practice through creative expression, resulting in concrete next steps. The group size is four to five people. Timing is one and a half to three hours.
Why Try It?
Often ideas of what we want to create in the world are muddled by hidden agendas, notions of success, etc., disabling our ability to envision the future. This exercise allows participants to get out of the mind and into the body to source new questions, ideas and insights.
How GrantBook Applied It:
In the Field of the Future, the GrantBook director defined four elements that impact revenues (money, team, clients, partners.) He embodied the future state of revenue generation and invited people to embody one of the defined elements, instructing them where in the space, at what level, in what shape and in what direction to face. The group held the future state shape and then sat back down.
Then the groups formed a current reality sculpture together. The director embodied the current state and placed the others as elements into the current state sculpture. The current state shape was held in silence and the group continued to hold the shape, sensing the social body and allowing movement to arise until a new Field of the Future group sculpture arrived. This time, each person made a statement from the “I” voice.
Participants engaged in generative dialogue via the following questions (Hayashi, Presencing Institute, 2018):
“What were differences in relationship of the elements in Field of the Future vs. current reality?”
“Where did movement begin?”
“What surprised you?”
“What did you learn?”
“What seed(s) of your future did you see in the sculpture?”
“How is your future intention clarified going forward?”
“What next steps related to any or all of the elements will you take?”
To protect the confidentiality of GrantBook, details on the resulting content is not revealed here.