Think into the Future: a Canvas to lead positive change and become a good ancestor

Niels de Fraguier
6 min readJun 28, 2022

Leaders of today are confronted with one of the most challenging times in history. Climate disruption increases uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity. We are constantly asked to choose between short-term return decisions and long-term stewardship.

Ancestral thinking is the antidote to the challenges we face. Training ourselves and others to lead with a long-term mindset is the way forward. Leaders are the driving force behind organisations, communities, and identities. They are the ones crafting solutions, influencing crowds, and shaping the future.

We have the responsibility to act from a place of stewardship. We are the guardians of the future.

We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children.

The Canvas

Think into the future is a decision-making tool to inform strategic decisions supporting a thriving future for you and the generations to come.

It helps you to adopt pioneering thinking in service to the future — supporting consciousness evolution for you to understand what the future is calling for.

It provides you with a set of key questions to reflect on important decisions you need to make. By giving you a new perspective on challenges you want to address, it opens up possibilities for you to drive long-term positive change.

It has been inspired by the work of thinkers such as Roman Krznaric, Tyson Yunkaporta, Rob Hopkins and Adah Parris.

The canvas is built around 9 main drivers. These drivers are all interconnected. They allow you to get a systemic perspective on the difference you can make by taking a long-term approach.

The drivers are not ranked by order of importance. They co-exist together and complement one another.

🌍 HUMILITY
Future-fit leadership requires us to be humble about the change we are making. It is essential to acknowledge the difference we can make beyond our lifetime. Let’s seat for a minute considering that life on Earth has existed for more than 3.8 billion years.

How does humility inform your decision-making? How do you consider the difference you can make for future generations to thrive?

CONNECTION
Being in right relationship is essential to fully comprehending systems and interactions. We, humans, are called to reconnect to nature and the roots of our existence preserving and enhancing life on this planet.

How do you ensure that every decision you make honour and enhance life on Earth?

👁️ BIAS
Adopting long-term thinking embeds the question of our bias and influences. Understanding the place from where we operate can highly benefit our decision-making. It is about understanding privileges and bias to act responsibly.

How do you take responsibility to put your privileges in service to others? How do you overcome your bias to foster equity?

🗺️ OPPORTUNITIES
The uncertainty of the world brings some challenges including risks. While our brains are made to focus on challenges, a whole range of opportunities are around the corner. Leveraging our resources can help us turn this crisis into a springboard for positive transformation.

What opportunities are you creating to respond to risks you could likely experience in the 5, 10 and 30 years to come? What resources can you leverage to make a lasting impact?

🧭 PURPOSE
As we are and will all be impacted by climate disruption, there is a call for us to find meaning in the journey. It is about putting the best version of ourselves to contribute to a meaningful cause driving positive change.

How does your personal purpose relate to the converging crises of our time? What is your unique contribution to the future?

💡 IMAGINATION
The future has not yet been written. We can inverse the course of history by making our societies more resilient, flourishing, and thriving than ever. Imagination invites us to collaborate and co-create with others to design long-lasting positive change.

How do you hold space where you and others can collaborate to dream about a thriving future?

🌊 POWER
New forms of power are emerging — they are participatory and collaborative. While old power is driven by fear to exercise control, future-fit leaders share power with others, empower people to lead, and inspire peers to grow power within. It is an invitation to move away from old power and look at power to, with, and within.

How do you move away from old power perspectives to welcome the potential of empowering others, build strong partnerships, and achieve your highest potential?

🌲 FUTURE OUTCOMES
Today’s definition of success does not fit with the change required. Success is a volatile element that can highly differ based on perspectives (myself, my community, nature, future generations…). Taking a guardian position gives a whole new understanding of what is needed.

What does success look like for you, nature, and future generations? To what extent are you prepared to challenge the conventional understanding of success and outcomes?

🌄 EMOTIONAL ENGAGEMENT
Being vulnerable in times of disruption has always been proven to be uplifting. It is essential to get closer to emotions to open up, empathise, and feel. Welcoming such feelings opens up space for better-informed decisions. It serves the needs of the underrepresented and generations to come.

How do you welcome emotions and foster empathy when making decisions? How do you consider the impact of your decisions for generations to come?

When to use it?

We encourage you to use this canvas for key decisions you want to make. Keep it within reach so it can become your best partner for making wise choices in times of uncertainty.

You can also use it as a team to make important decisions for your organisation.

How to use it?

After identifying a key decision you need to make (or inquiry), go through the canvas and answer each of the questions. Make sure you take the time to reflect and seat with the questions as a living inquiry.

While using the canvas, it is important to be conscious of relationships acknowledging who the other leaders, organisations, and influencers are in the space you operate. Make sure you think of the ways you can be informed about their work and hold space for potential collaboration.

Practical cases

We all face situations where we know that there is a big decision to be made. Whether it is in our personal lives or our professional path, there are always moments of truth where our decision can become a game-changer.

Think of your annual strategy meeting at work. You’re invited to contribute to a discussion shaping the future of the company and set up priorities. You can pioneer the present by putting the Think into the Future canvas into motion.

What if you could plant a seed in your colleagues’ minds to co-create something very special together supporting a thriving future?

Think of your next career move. You can truly make a difference by joining an impactful initiative serving the future of humanity. You can inform your decision by putting the Think into the Future canvas in action.

What if you could choose the most appropriate opportunity to safeguard the future of your children and the generations to come?

What you will get is not only a better-informed decision, it is also a much more innovative lens that will enable you to create something very unique.

Connect with the principles

The canvas can also be an inspiration for your daily life grounding the 9 principles as a daily practice (and connected to Bio Leadership attributes).

  1. Be humble
  2. Connect with nature and life
  3. Leverage privileges for others
  4. See the opportunity in every challenge
  5. Live for purpose
  6. Be creative in the way you think
  7. Empower change
  8. Redefine success
  9. Connect to your emotions

Get your personal template

Download it as a PDF

Download it as a PNG

Get access to the Mural template

Other languages available here (French, Japanese…)

Share your feedback and experience

The first version of this tool is a condensed version of several years of practice and work. I would love to hear from you if you have insights on how to improve this tool. Reach out if you would like to share insights or the way you have been using this tool.

If you need support to find your own way and make a positive contribution to the world, get in touch by visiting Empowering Potential.

--

--

Niels de Fraguier

Author of The Regenerative Enterprise. Disrupting the status quo by challenging assumptions, practices, and conventional thinking. Top Writer on Sustainability