Three Horizons – Multi-Actor Mapping
To bring in multiple perspectives on a Three Horizon Map to enrich understanding and inform possibilities of “convening the future” to take action.
When to use?
As a second stage of building Three Horizons Mapping, especially useful if the team is all from one organisation and needs to broaden their perception and understanding of the dynamics that will shape H3 and how they might need to relate to other actors to bring about desired transformation.
Each actor perspective requires the set up for the whole group, or break out group, described in Three Horizons Mapping.
- A Three Horizon map as seen from each of the chosen actor perspectives.
- A combined 3H map that tells a story combining the perspectives.
- The clustered H2+ and H3 material is suitable as input to the Three Horizons Action Planning method.
Step 1: Brainstorm List of Actors
- Explain purpose is to generate a list of candidates from whose perspective different 3H maps will be explored. You want to get both obvious ones and ones currently on the margin. Prime them to consider the unexpected players by using contemporary examples “Who would have thought x years ago that we would see y starting to do z”.
- Trigger question: “Considering our scope, which actors, or classes of actors, might be influential in shaping the third horizon that will emerge?”
- Use usual brainstorm approach of capturing whatever comes up in a list on flip charts
Step 2: Select Actors for Mapping
- Decide how many actors you are going to develop maps for – typically three to five. Working in parallel in smaller groups is a good way to generate energy and diversity into the thinking and is better than taking them all through every actor.
- Give everybody in the group the same number of votes as the number of actors to be selected. Get them to vote by coming up and placing a tick against an actor for each vote, without discussion. Tell them to use each vote for a different actor, and to select a set that would interest them most.
- Review the collective choice, picking out the ones with the most votes, and where there is a tie having a discussion to choose a set that are interestingly different.
Step 3: Build Actor Maps
- Divide up into breakout groups to develop the maps. Give them a simple set of trigger questions for the three horizons, to work in order H1, H3, H2, and let them self-facilitate. Encourage them that they should do this by role playing, fully inhabiting the perspective of the chosen actor and trying to see the world through their eyes.
- Ask each group to prepare to tell the story of their actor’s map.
Step 4: Share Actor Stories
- Each group tells the story of its map to the whole group and discusses it.
- Take pictures of the maps before going on to the next step.
Step 5: Combine Maps
- Set up an H2+ flip chart and an H3 flip chart
- Ask each group to identify the H2+ stickies on their map, and transfer them to the H2+ flip chart
- Take all the H3 stickies and put them on the H3 flip chart
- Use Silent Clustering on H3.
- Work through the clusters discussing and labelling them. As each cluster is named, write the name on a hexagon and place it appropriately back on the main 3H map.
- Repeat for H2+
Step 6: Tell a Story
- Develop a story of the combined map, exploring in particular where the points that have emerged that influence the different perspectives to combine or compete in their journey to H3. See Three Horizons Mapping for guidance.
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