What if

Radical changes resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic and climate change are happening across society, and affecting our communities. Systems which for many people have never felt stable and reliable, are becoming even more precarious, unreliable and unsustainable. This situation is further compounded as we begin to experience worsening ecological, environmental and democratic crises and the associated problems they bring. As a result, existing ways of thinking and doing are even less able to meet the needs of our communities. 

To address this we want to think about what needs to change to make our communities sustainable and just. There are aspects of our existing systems that are crucial and necessary for survival, and other things that need to change but that at present we cannot do without. A good analogy for this is that we are trying to build a new plane (or eco airship if you prefer) while it is still flying. We need to come together to work out how we create the new plane while also ensuring we are keeping it in the air.

Video overview of visioning process and Transition Bounce Forward:

What makes a good What if question? webinar, learn how to develop a good what if question.

The What if exercise is a 3 stage process that enables us to visualise and discuss the changes we want to see, for our community as a whole, or an area that we would specifically like to focus on such as food growing or community energy.

  1. What is – enables you to explore what is already happening, by unpacking what isn’t working, what needs to change and what needs to be retained. 
  2. What if –  is where you use our Transition Time Machine to fire the collective imagination of the people present to come up with a vision for your whole community or the area of focus that you want to work on.
  3. What next – explores the pathways that can get you from the What If questions you have generated, to some firm ideas for future actions.  

This process enables collaboration, co-design and specifically allows for tensions to emerge so that they can be worked through together in order to develop a sense of shared ownership and solidarity, setting the basis for future change to happen. 

Download the visioning exercise here.

Plain text (word doc) version also available for printing out here.


Tuesday 8th June 2021, 20:52:11

Especially seeing as the What Next Summit was sooooo inspiring!!! xxxxx

Tuesday 8th June 2021, 20:50:47

Can't wait to 'relocate environmentalism' along with councillors who say they are working for social justice and more. Looking forward to at least having a discussion with a possiblility of being heard and therefore seeing Real Change - very soon. Why aren't we working together yet?

Tuesday 8th June 2021, 10:29:06

Food, glorious food! Absolutely! There is so much celebration, conversation and literal nourishment (!) in food. Thanks for posting your comment. Can't see the link in the comment, so I'll dig it out and share on socials. Richard (TBF Team)

Monday 7th June 2021, 10:20:45

This is fantastic and I could not agree more. Just to add, food is a fantastic material through which much of this can happen. For more please see the food ladders framework available in the link below. There are so many people doing this to add strength to their communities this way and we need to make them visible.