Explore Direct & Indirect Consequences Using a Futures Wheel

My adaptation of Jerome C Glenn’s futures wheel
My adaptation of Jerome C Glenn’s futures wheel

Fill out your own with one of these templates: Google Slides, Miro

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Filling Out the Wheel

Follow along with one of these templates: Google Slides, Miro

Animated process for filling out a futures wheel
  1. To get started, fill out the center circle describing the decision, event, or trend that you want to evaluate.
    (As an example, let’s use “Build a more diverse team”)
  2. Next, fill out the direct consequences, both positive and negative, that occur immediately after this change.
    (Examples could include “More unique perspectives” or, negatively, “Managers feel ill-equipped to hire for diversity”)
  3. Finally, complete the outer ring by listing all the indirect consequences of the direct results. The important step here is to use the connector lines to combine the 2 related direct results. This will help you brainstorm new indirect consequences by thinking “What would happen if both of these direct results occurred?”
    (An example combining our two previous results could be “We hire outside diversity training for managers”)

Next Steps (Optional)

  1. Using both the direct and indirect results, choose (or vote as a group) on 5 that you believe will have the greatest positive impact. Do the same for negative outcomes.
  2. One at a time, copy each of these 10 circles and put them either in the positive or negative outcomes bucket.
    If I’m unsure, I think about whether I’d want a journalist to write a story about it.
  3. Now, you can start to prioritize things. For the positive outcomes, plot each circle by the “opportunity size” and “probability of occuring”, looking for big opportunities with a high probability of occurrence.
  4. Do the opposite for the negative, looking for outcomes that would have a large impact and are also likely to occur.
  5. Finally, brainstorm ideas for action items you can take in order to achieve or avoid the outcomes you identified.
  6. For best results, ensure you add some deadlines and measurable results for each of the action items.

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Fractional Design Leader. Co-Founder @ DeviantArt. Former VP of Design @ The Zebra.

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Matthew Stephens

Matthew Stephens

Fractional Design Leader. Co-Founder @ DeviantArt. Former VP of Design @ The Zebra.

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