Issue #32: Future of Belonging Community

"Alone, we can do little; together, we can do so much." — Helen Keller

I hosted the third meetup for readers and subscribers of this still emergent community on Tuesday. Each time I host, the gremlins of impostor syndrome tempt me to cancel as I question why anyone would want to spend an hour talking about the future of belonging. And each time, you dear readers surprise me by showing up to collectively imagine and create potential futures. I’m incredibly grateful for the gift of your presence.

It’s best to think of these sessions as public experiments where we can all learn, connect, and hopefully begin to walk away with insights andI take steps toward building a future of belonging with greater safety, emotional connection, and meaning.

On Tuesday night, I facilitated a game designed by Jane McGonigal for last year’s Ten-Year Forecast Summit named 100 Ways Anything In the Future Can Be Different. The premise of the game is simple once you choose a topic. For illustration purposes, let’s choose shoes for an example topic.

Step One: Write 100 facts true about your topic today. In our example, shoes cost money to acquire them. People do not wear shoes when they sleep.

Step Two: Flip these facts for the future by identifying the opposite or a distinctive alternative. In our example, shoes are now free in the next decade. People with Type 2 diabetes wear shoes 24 hours/day.

Step Three: Identify reasons for the flip. Keep in mind the larger trends over the next decade such as climate change, online misinformation, income inequality and health stats and trends. Returning to our example, maybe shoes are now free because climate change has increased temperatures so much that it’s necessary to make the soles from special materials that do not melt on the hot concrete. People with diabetes wear shoes all the time with sensors to detect vitals like blood glucose, oxygen levels, and healthy circulation.

This was the first time that I’ve facilitated the game virtually and in a compressed format (within an hour from start to finish). We didn’t have enough time to reach 100 items in each step and that’s where you come in! Click the image below to view the full Miro board (password: DIFFERENT) and let’s get to 100 together by next week!

  • Share facts about belonging today, your future flips and reasons for them.

  • Vote for the flips that you think are most important and impactful to focus on for a future with greater belonging.

Edit Miro Board

If you’re looking for “extra credit,” take a look at the signals shared from attendees at the August meetup. Comment on this post with a provocative signal you’ve learned about that could influence the future of belonging.

In case you aren’t familiar with signals, these are small and/or local disruptions that would change how we understand how the world works if they were to scale in impact or geography. A good signal can take many forms: a data point, a prototype, a new product/service/experience, and even an anecdote. The only requirements for a signal are specificity, recency, and provocativeness. Specific signals include unique people, places, actions and things, resembling a breaking news headline you might see. Recent signals generally are less than two years old. Provocative signals elicit an emotional response of anger, anxiety, or joy. Looking forward to see what you write below.

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Outside of meeting some of you at these meetups, I’ve also received emails from subscribers sharing feedback and new insights that you bring to the future of belonging. I’m hoping to share this space with more readers via interviews to feature the unique perspectives that many of you have. Stay tuned for interviews from subscribers as well as other experts. And in the spirit of more dialogue, I look forward to sharing more discussion threads where we can learn from each other. Happy to host office hours in the future if that’s something you’re interested in.

Thank you so much for your comments, emails, participation, dialogue and imagination. Belonging is essential to realizing the full potential of our humanity. In these challenging and chaotic times, we feel constantly overwhelmed and often overpowered by the negative forces of hatred, exclusion, loneliness, and displacement impeding the belonging we require in our relationships, social connections and broader social infrastructure. Every one of you gives me hope that we can collectively tackle these obstacles and build futures with greater belonging.