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 Making Sense of a Community’s Chaotic Future – participants in a Strategic Foresight Lab in June 2016 respond to a scenario that brings chaos to a fictional community. The Local Government Institute of Wisconsin (LGI) is accepting applications through June 30th from Wisconsin communities that are committed to working across government and stakeholder boundaries to design ambitious and resilient futures.


The three-year effort, called “Future Regions”, will fund a total of nine regional planning processes – three in 2017, three in 2018 and three in 2019. LGI will underwrite up to 50% of the project cost; the participating communities are expected to contribute the balance.  A region may be self-defined, but it must include at least two local units of government, key community organizations, key businesses and members of the community not normally involved in community leadership roles.


Future Regions will use a six-step foresight process facilitated by Wisconsin-based futurist Rebecca Ryan to:

·       Identify critical trends that will shape their communities in the future

·       Design a compelling vision and supporting strategies that are responsive to trends

·       Execute strategy through a dynamic multi-sector configuration of stakeholders.


“Business-as-usual, where governments work in their silos independent of each other and other community actors, is not a sustainable strategy,” says Gary Becker, LGI’s Executive Director. Research conducted by LGI in 2016 determined that communities that flourish in the future will be collaborative, highly engaged across multiple jurisdictions and stakeholders, and accountable. The Future Regions initiative was designed with that in mind: to help Wisconsin communities be proactive and collaborative.


The Future Regions program is open to any community in Wisconsin, but at least two local units of government must be part of any application.  Selected communities will work with Rebecca Ryan for up to one year. Applications and other information is available at


The Local Government Institute of Wisconsin is a not-for-profit, non-partisan corporation created to conduct research, enhance collaboration, and educate the public and policymakers on ways to improve local government's ability to serve the people.


Rebecca Ryan is the Resident Futurist at the Alliance for Innovation and the Association of Government Risk Pools. She is a senior advisor at the Governing Institute and the author of several books and major reports on the future.


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