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My Vision Video

This video was presented as part of the "Vision to Action: A Tool for Community Focus and Motivation". A transcript of the video follows, but is identical to the audio featured in the video.

Return to 2007 Conference Proceedings


Jim, what we have here is the “Vision to Action” process. What this process was set up to do—we’ve developed it over the last couple of years—and it basically takes off the leadership principle visions, and the individual’s vision, and then goes down and tries to figure out how to apply that at the community or township level, and then how do we then bring those visions into a broader set of towns in a region or watershed. And kind of the way it works is we ask people to visualize what their vision inside their head is of sustainability. In other words, “I live in this community, what’s it look like when I’m being sustainable?” That’s their personal vision of sustainability, what they’re going to do. We have them draw that vision, drawing is very critical here, the color and everything is what simulates the excitement through the visual cortex. Once they draw their vision we have them put it on this poster—just stick it on there—after we have scanned it and make copies of it. Now, once they get it on there we have all these copies, and what we would do is in a community setting we may have 20, 30, or 40 people all doing this together and then what they do is, they take those scanned images and those reproductions and they share them, they look at them. And from looking at all those different visions they go ahead and self select the ones that they think have some sort of relationship to their vision, and it may be sort of a business process relationship. In other words, if I want a garden and this guy’s got a farmers market, this guy’s interested in barter trade, here’s a small business that would make cakes and jams out of the stuff that I grow. The connection may be some business process; it could be just stuff that they want to employ like gray water technology or roof water technology. It may also be that this vision is like an acre view. This may fit into some larger scale view of the kind of community that they want to be a part of. So in this case you’ve got someone who’s basically gone from the very what is on their dining room table, in terms of food, and all the way up into the community and the regional, to the watershed level of connectivity. And so that’s what we’re after is to get people to pick other people’s visions and put them on there. Now, once we do that and you have a group of people who have done this, what you’ve then got is a whole bunch of visions from a group of neighbors, towns, or communities and then the leadership, the government can look across these visions and see what are the common elements, what are the common themes or threads of business flow. Kind of like what we did over here, but for one person’s vision set, to another. And what we’re looking for is commonality if a lot of people pick this guy’s farmers market then you can bet two things. One, this guys got a great business opportunity for a farmers market because a lot of people believe in that, and they’re going to be able to support it from a business standpoint, or from a consumption standpoint.

We might also find a trend around water resources. In other words, are people identifying a stream, or a river as something that they want to restore or enhance or make a more significant part of their community? So, we look for those kinds of trends and the key phrase here is “multi-vision integration” where we look across all these visions that have been integrated and ask ourselves the question “What are they telling us here?” And one thing that we don’t want to forget about this process; this is not just the citizens telling us what they want government to do, this is them saying “here’s my visions, this is what I’m going to do” because it’s a vision to action. The very essence of what vision is supposed to be about. And so what we encourage and remind people in the poster right here is we want you to act on that vision, even if you don’t go through the rest of this process. So it’s both them doing their thing and acting on it, and then us looking at all the collections of these actions and the relationships that they’ve built into the process and that’s what gives us the multi-vision integration. And, again, you’ve got to get them to draw. The drawing, the color, that’s what gets them excited, and as hard as that is it’s important that we, as facilitators in this process, we put those markers in their hand and we get them to draw and 9 out of 10 times, even the most cynical person will start drawing and will come alive and you’ll see them. Their expression will change and their excitement will change and the whole discussion that we’ve historically had about where communities are going, goes from the adversarial discussion—because people are tripping over their words, and confusing their words—down to one of “I’m looking at your vision and I can see what you’re talking about, a picture is worth 1,000 words you don’t need to write anything or say anything. I know what you’re talking about”. And so the conversation tends to quickly gravitate to the relationships that people want to have around their visions. In other words I can help you with yours; you can help me with mine. So that’s really the essence of the process, the excitement of the process, and so far to date we’ve tested it on four communities in Jacksonville, FL and Starke, FL. It worked great. We went into despondent neighborhoods that were having a hard time, little hope, and we’ve energized people and got them moving in the right direction, and even if we never go back we’re pretty sure that there are motivated people who are acting on their vision.

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