Iowa State University - Home Extension and Outreach - Home ISUE Logo
CIRAS - Iowa State University - Extension and Outreach

CIRAS - TOC - Thinking Processes

Future Reality Tree (FRT)

Contact us
515-294-3420
ciras.info@iastate.edu


When using the Thinking Processes, the second of 3 questions you should ask  is:

  • "What to change to?"

The first step in determining the answer to this question is to determine the conflict that underlies the core problem using the mapping tool called the Evaporating Cloud. The main output of the Evaporating Cloud is a breakthrough idea, called an injection.

Once the injection is determined, you will have one necessary part of the solution. However, the injection is not sufficient to resolve the core problem. In fact, to be sure the proposed injection is indeed a "good" idea, it is important to check what the effect of implementing that idea would be.

Thus the second step in determining "what to change to" is to test your breakthrough injection, to see if it will have the desired impact on your system. That is, would implementing the injection change the undesirable effects (UDEs) you are now experiencing into desirable effects (DEs)? This is done by returning to the original map of undesirable effects (the Current Reality Tree) and inserting the injection at the appropriate place. Then, redraw the logical connections and see whether implementing this idea would, indeed, reverse the undesireable effects into desireable effects. If it works, you now know to what to change.

This mapping tool used in this step is the "Future Reality Tree" because it gives you a good picture of what the future can look like if you can figure out how to implement the injection. Notice that at this point, it is not necessary to know how you can implement your injection. In fact, sometimes it will appear that the injection is next to impossible to implement—that it will happen only when "pigs can fly." Such injections are referred to as "Flying Pig Injections."  If this is the case for you, do not dispair! There are effective techniques for grounding a flying pig.

"Never go someplace you've never been before."

 

-unknown Military Instructor