Articulating personal or organizational aspirations can run the gamut from exhilarating to overwhelming. But there are ways to quickly give it structure, incorporate new perspectives, and walk away with an actionable plan, while also keeping it creative and energetic.

XPLANE’s latest Visual Thinking School (VTS) session focused on ways to envision the future, or what we like to call “futurecasting.” 34 participants worked in small groups at XPLANE’s headquarters to imagine the future of commuting in Portland in the year 2025. Three exercises guided the conversation:

  1. “Ideation Post-up”
    Participants rapidly developed ideas on their own and as a group, filtering to the top three ideas.
  2. “What if we were…”
    They then stepped out of what they knew and adopted perspectives of different companies, experimenting with new lenses and ideas.
  3. “Cover Story”
    Highlights from both exercises were drawn as magazine cover mock-ups to illustrate what success would look like. From the covers of
    Imbibe to The New York Times, groups reported their stories of future states that included bike limos, ziplines, driverless cars, and ferries. Lastly, public presentations allowed them to identify common themes across these covers.

Across these exercises, groups created visual artifacts that captured main ideas and set them up for the next steps of determining how to get there. Participants left VTS with the ability to take these exercises and apply them to their personal goals and their jobs. We look forward to hearing back about more successful examples!

Interested in getting a spot at our next VTS? Check out more information here.

This article was written by intern Candice Chow-Gamboa.