key stakeholders, diverse interest groups, resource experts, and
others who represent the community. This may be an advisory group
or a working task force. Set the meeting up with a facilitator,
a means to record and post all comments such as flip charts, and
arrange chairs in a single circle to allow everyone to see each
other. Explain the exercise, state the time limits, and stress the
importance of participation and respect for one another’s thoughts.
2. Get focused
set a limit on what the vision will address. Possibilities include
physical features such as watersheds or river valleys or boundaries
such as township, county or school districts, or the vision may
be for an entity like an organization or a park. Make sure everyone
understands and is in agreement about the limits before proceeding.
identify and define those things that make their community, the
resource, or their organization special. Consider how it might be
described to a visitor. Capture all comments. Look for themes and
commonalities among the attributes and have the participants cluster
and label them accordingly. If there are several, it may be necessary
to prioritize the attributes before continuing and rule some out.
Take those attributes
and imagine how they might be described to a visitor five to ten
years from now. Given these qualities, in this place, what is possible?
What is the dream? If it is slightly out-of-reach, that is okay;
if it is as unrealistic as a New Year’s resolution, then scale back.
Have fun thinking of scenarios.
Using the words
captured during the brainstorm, begin to put together sentences
to form a statement. Try beginning with "To become the… To be known
as… To be… To offer… To maintain…." There may be a lot of focus
on single words, or making subtle changes, but this is important
to the process. Everyone should be comfortable with what is said
and how it is said.
The final vision
should be something that the participants feel addresses what is
most important for their community, resource, or organization. With
a vision in hand, tell others about it by issuing a press release,
printing brochures or posters, creating buttons or shirts, or using
most any other medium. Let everyone know about the vision so work
can begin on implementing it.