A futures wheel discovers unintended effects
WHAT IS A FUTURES WHEEL?
A futures wheel discovers how a decision or event changes your world. The technique maps implications from an action or event to forecast the intended and unintended second and third-order impacts. It does this by visualizing chain reactions of cause and effect to emulate the system context of your decision.
What would be the impact of throwing away a life? In Frank Capra's "It's a Wonderful Life," George Bailey learns the unintended second- and third-order effects on the world if he had never been born.
Unintended effects shape the future
HOW DO WE USE IT FOR STRATEGIC PLANNING?
We use a futures wheel when you want to analyze downstream effects and need a description of how a new condition will cause the future to differ from the present.
WHAT VALUE DOES IT ADD?
A futures wheel lifts you beyond obvious implications people can see readily and enables you to discover hidden interactions and dependencies among the factors, actors, and forces around you. Many decision makers do not think beyond first-order implications or unconsciously skip second- and third-order implications because they assume a direct cause and effect sequence will achieve their goal. Consequently, many people fail to anticipate potentially important downstream impacts of their choices.