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What the Heck is a Futures Lab?


A Futures Lab is a set of interactive workshops facilitated by economist and futurist Rebecca Ryan and her team. End-to-end, the process usually runs six months and focuses on two deliverables: engaging your key people to talk and think differently about the future; and developing an exciting, future-focused plan.

IS YOUR STRATEGIC PLAN BASED ON WHAT'S COMING, OR WHAT'S PASSED?

Face it: most strategic plans are updates to past plans. And most people hate "strategic planning." There's a better way to plan for the future. We call it Futures Labs.

Futures Labs are hands-on workshops that:

  • Prompt in-depth discussion about the data-based trends and projections happening in your community, your market, or with your clients.
  • Enable groups to think critically and creatively about "What-if" scenarios. WHAT IF we have (another) natural disaster? WHAT IF we experience growth? WHAT IF we watch and wait and do nothing?
  • Teach participants how to think like futurists, not historians, so they can plan a future that wants to emerge.
  • Create a realistic and ambitious vision for the long-range future, with a plan to enable it.
  • Start now, by forming short range, do'able projects that take us toward our vision but don't require anyone's money or permission.

“The Lab was the linchpin collaborative experience in getting our business and elected leaders on the same page about overturning years of inaction in funding South Carolina’s highways and bridges. In one day, we determined the need for a $.25 increase and used that agreed to funding bar as the private sector’s goal for increasing the state’s motor fuel user fee. The goal was aggressive and pro-active and resulted in a final legislative win of $.12 over a six year phase in period. Without the Lab, the aspirational funding goal would have never been set and the push for the legislative action crystallized. Now four years later, we have achieved the first step in the long-term funding of Greater Charleston and the state of South Carolina’s vital infrastructure."

- BRYAN DERREBERRY, PRESIDENT AND CEO CHARLESTON METRO CHAMBER OF COMMERCE
Group of five women standing in a semi circle gathered around a large poster of a scenario

What DO YOU GET WITH a Futures Lab?

  • Proprietary in-depth research on trends that will impact your organization or community.
  • Two days of on-site suturing workshops that will inspire and engage your stakeholders and help you prioritize your future.
  • A beautiful written plan and recommendations from our futurists.
  • A quarterly check-in call for the first year - everyone needs accountability!
Foresight lab v2

"The Infrastructure [Futures] Lab was the linchpin collaborative experience in getting our business and elected leaders on the same page about overturning years of inaction in funding South Carolina's highways and bridges."

- BRYAN DERREBERRY, PRESIDENT AND CEO, CHARLESTON METRO CHAMBER

How Will My Organization Benefit?

The exercises you'll do in the Futures Lab will get you thinking about the future, rather than rehashing the past. Look at existing and potential issues through the lab's "Four Scenarios for Our Future" and you'll see what your future could be if you don't take action now.

Which actions should you take? That's what we'll figure out together.

You'll come out with a great strategic direction, and the way you'll get there will be totally innovative and engaging. We promise.


Whom Should We Invite to the Lab?

We recommend a 50/50 blend of traditionalists (they might be called "the usual suspects") and off-the-wall weirdos, i.e. artists, entrepreneurs, hackers, vegans, students, oddballs, rabble-rousers and people who just think differently.


How Much is this Gonna Cost?

Futures Labs start at $50,000. We offer a money-back guarantee - if your organization is not more prepared - and mobilized - after a Futures Lab, you don't pay one penny. Contact us to learn more.


You'll Be in Good Company

We've run labs for communities and companies across the US and Canada, including:

  • Charleston, SC - the future of quality of life
  • Charleston, WV - the future of downtown
  • Columbia, SC - the future of the business community
  • Eau Claire, WI - the future of the region’s creative economy
  • Filene Institute - the future of financial empowerment
  • Omaha, NE - the future of the region’s economic prosperity
  • Moss Adams - the future of public accounting
  • Tacoma, WA - the future of the city
  • Trek - the future of biking
  • Tucson, AZ - the future of the workforce

.... and more! Contact us for references.

Group of six people standing in a semi circle working on a future scenario

Might a Futures Lab be just what your organization needs?

EMAIL LL@REBECCARYAN.COM