Joel Barker's Implications Wheel (TM) is a strategic exploration tool.

The highly interactive process quickly helps group participants discover multiple levels of mid- to long-term implications of ideas, changes, decisions, etc.

The Future

Nineteenth century pioneers in the American West successfully navigated uncertain terrain by using scouts to help them identify and prepare for the many risks and opportunities that were found “just over the horizon.” The scouting process proved to have value because it incorporated the following critical attributes:

  • Speed: Scouts were instructed to ride out, make observations, and return quickly. If they took too long, their information would be of little use.
  • Scatter: Usually multiple scouts were used so that a broad area could be covered. This broad spectrum ensured that alternative pathways forward weren't overlooked. 
  • Sampling: Scouts weren't asked to measure, analyze and record a lot of details. Instead, they returned with observations, impressions and images that were qualified by their experience. 
  • Mapping: Scouts mapped the terrain with sufficient detail to give the wagon master the “lay of the land.” 
  • Decision-enhancing information: The ultimate decision on which way to proceed was made by the wagon master, not by the scouts. With input from the scouts, the wagon master was able to make decisions with confidence regarding matters that had consequences far into the future.

These attributes are equally relevant for today's decision makers, who are called upon to navigate the unchartered territory of the future. Understanding the consequences of decisions—and being able to identify them ahead of time—provides decision-makers with a powerful competitive advantage.

Scouting The Future
With The Implications Wheel
A Wheel in Progress
Implications Explosion
Why the Implications Wheel?
  • Need to avoid the pain of unintended consequences?
  • Want to discover the significant positive and negative implications of what you are planning?
  • Would your organization benefit from having a significant buy-in from your people on future plans and programs?
  • Would you like to know what you'll need to go through to get to where you want to be?

Reach out today to start the conversation.