chapter  14
24 Pages

Blue-sky thinking

This chapter proposes techniques to assess existing options and engage in thinking about a better world (blue-sky thinking). It starts with various group processes to imagine an Ideal Scenario that recognizes and takes inspiration from past accomplishments and current strengths. They include The Ideal Scenario Tapestry and The Carrousel, a variation on the World Cafe, two effective techniques to develop a vision of the future or common action plan. The Carrousel is most helpful in situations where small groups or large assem - blies need to develop consensus gradually. The process allows for sharing and several rounds of improvements to ideas. It is a good substitute for the conventional general assembly or plenary session more conducive to formal discussions and deliberations. Practitioners may also use Sabotage, a humorous exercise to identify and overcome habits, doubts, fears and other barriers to achieving goals (the tool is already built into Paradox and is illustrated in our story of Health and safety among construction workers in France, Chapter 10). As a complement to visioning PAR facilitators can use Disagreements and Misunder standings to rank stakeholders’ goals in order of importance, and review disagreements or misunderstandings people may have about these goals. The West Bengali and Canadian Cree examples of this tool are particularly telling of the importance of understanding difference as the basis for building agreement. Levels of Support (adapted from Kaner, 1996), illustrated with another story from West Bengal, is equally handy. This is a method that uses local language to determine whether there is enough support from stakeholders to go on with a proposal or course of action, before any final decision or vote is taken.