How We Shape the Future: Reflexive Questions for the Social Work Profession

As I’m making my way through a book project (Anticipatory Social Work!!!) I’m doing a lot of working and thinking about and structuring activities to guide the profession into meaningful, direct and generative questions for individuals and collectives. The future of social work isn’t only “out there.” It is connected to the things we are doing, the places we are looking, the places we aren’t looking…right now. The “point” of foresight is to help us use the future…to help us guide and more creatively understand how we want to face and/or co-create what comes next. The questions in the diagram describe (in part) describe some of the spaces from where the future will evolve for us.

My own experience is that we don’t have a lot of places to productively and constructively deal with the inevitable conflicts/divergent perspectives that will arise about these issues. To evolve faster together on purpose…we need spaces to come together collectively and work through who and what we want to be. How do we make unproductive conflict in our profession…productive? How do we synthesize new aspirations, trajectories and plans for who we want to be together? I suggest that “strategic planning” isn’t enough – foresight can help in this space too. This is the focus of my work.

Posted this on Twitter and had numerous responses for a high res version to share…so sharing it here. Happy downloading. Love to hear how/if you and your social work community are using this for conversations!

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