As a founder and managing director of Global Business Network, James Ogilvy helped develop the technique of scenario planning, which has become an integral part of strategic thinking in both business and government. Now Ogilvy shows how we can use this cutting-edge method for social change in our own neighborhoods. In Building Better Futures, Ogilvy presents a profound new vision of how the world is changing-and how it can be changed for the better. Ogilvy argues that self-defined communities, rather than individuals or governments, have become the primary agents for social change. Towns, professional associations, and interest groups of all kinds help shape the future in all the ways that matter most, from schools and hospitals to urban development. The key to improvement is scenario planning-a process that draws on groups of people, both lay and expert, to draft narratives that spell out possible futures, some to avoid, some inspiring hope.
Scenario planning has revolutionized both public and private planning, leading to everything from the diverse product lines that have revived the auto industry, to a timely decision by the state of Colorado to avoid pouring millions into an oil-shale industry that never materialized. But never before has anyone proposed that it be taken up by society as a whole. Drawing on years of experience in both academia and the private sector, where he developed both a keen sense of how businesses work best and an abiding passion for changing the world, James Ogilvy provides the tools we need to create better communities: better health, better education, better lives.