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HOV – Future thinking workshop

Here's a practical guide to running a future lens workshop with your team, to help envisage and then plan for it. eg What will TA/HR look like in 2035? We ran this at our kick-off event on the 7th March 2024.
House of Visionaries,   People strategy,   Scale Strategy,   Talent Strategy

Future thinking workshop



You are challenging yourself and your team to be more future focussed and visionary. Exciting!

For our example we have used the topic of “What will TA/HR look like in 2035?” but you’ll have perhaps more near focus (next 2 – 5 years) strategy you want to shape and influence from within your business.

What follows are some materials, practical tips and a method to run a workshop.


The materials


The “Janus Cone”




This method is named after Janus, the Roman god of beginnings, transitions and endings. We’re not making this up, honest.

Essentially what’s happened, how has that shaped today, and therefore what trends can we see impacting tomorrow.

We find it’s a useful way to think about the future. So much innovation is actually a spin on something older, or opportunities are spotted through thinking more deeply about what has and is happening.



Mega Trends


Use tools like this to steer conversations towards the future.

It is challenging to get your head outside of the day to day and some pre-planned and thought provoking spaces can help your team do that. Where you can, bring in data and insights to help support the innovation you are looking to deliver.

We provided the below spaces in the context of a future state TA / HR industry as an example.




Our TA / HR Lens


A grounding tool for these type of conversations.



Your team may get talking excitedly about AI powered robots, serving your morning mushroom coffee, and maybe that coffee was selected via an implant, controlled just by our eye movements…. or flying electric vehicles. As fun as that is, it may not be where our functions will be focussed.


Bring the conversation back through the TA/HR lens:

  • What do we do as a function?
  • How do we do it?
  • Who do we serve, how do we serve them better?
  • How do we do more of what we love as professionals?



Step by step guide


#1 Break the day-to-day cycle and carve out some dedicated time


The day to day will always be waiting for you and your team.

Assemble the team, ideally, face to face, and choose a different, more creative location to meet from the norm. Co-working spaces, someone’s house. Start signalling from the outset that this is not a day-to-day collaboration.

Pegging it with a fun social event or team-building activity could be another way to signpost deviation from every day. Kudos to you if that is every day 😉

Plan in advance and make it happen.



#2 Look back and see how far we have come

(30% of your allocated time)


If you are looking back say 10 years, have some fun. Maybe get out your phones and ask everyone to share a picture that captures the essence of who you were? what you were doing? and how you were doing it?

Be sure to invite early participation from everyone and get the energy levels up.

Spend a relatively short amount of your time together looking back using prompting Qs like:

  • What are you as a team most proud of?
  • What has brought the greatest challenge/learnings?
  • What were we/you doing in TA/HR?
  • How were we/you doing it?


You could also provide your team with some probing questions ahead of you meeting. Some of your team will be reflective thinkers, and this will perhaps make your session run more smoothly.



#3 Capture how that will influence the future and the biggest pain points now

(15% of your allocated time)


This will be the easiest bit and will feel more in the day to day.

Be sure to move on quickly but crystallise what the biggest pain points today are.

  • What is still true? Maybe going to be true forever?
  • What’s your/our biggest pain points?
  • What works now that will still work in the future?




#4 Look into the future, envisage, then make a plan on how to deliver it

(50% of your allocated time)


This is the really hard, but fun bit. Looking out to the horizon and capturing the essence of how you want your TA/HR function to operate in future. Think about and discuss openly the trends that will affect that future. Get lost together… but not for too long. Stay grounded with a TA/HR lens on your conversation too.

  • What do we do as a function?
  • How do we do it?
  • Who do we serve, how do we serve them better?
  • How do we do more of what we love as professionals?




#5 Bake in time to summarise

(5% of allocated time)


  • Remind people about the purpose of your workshop
  • Share next steps of turning the thinking into an execution plan
  • Decide action owners and continue involvement of your team in shaping those plans



Final Top Tips


  • Remember each member of your team is different, provide questions ahead of any meet-up to allow them to think.
  • Provide snacks on the day, this boosts energy levels and means everyone is switched on and not thinking “when’s lunch”.
  • Gain feedback from your team, how did they find the workshop?
  • When implementing any change, pull in your team for feedback. Shape the future together, multiple brains are better than one after all.

Gain further inspiration

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