Vision Setting

Vision Setting


Focus creative solutions on an aligned vision

Reading Time

5 mins

What is this for? This guide will help you understand what a vision is and how you can collaboratively define one with a team. Mindset and core principles Having a clear vision is the foundation upon which many other design thinking activities are based. Things like coming up with ideas and making decisions are all more effective when there is a clear vision to guide the direction.

What is a vision?

A Vision is about DIRECTION The purpose of a Vision is to act as a "north star" for a team. So everyone can move in an aligned direction.
  • A Vision does not need to be achievable, it can be better if it feels a little out of reach.
  • The most important thing is that the direction is clear.
MBM defines a Vision as: "Where and how our business can best create long-term value (Mutually Beneficial with customers/constituents" An effective vision provides a sense of purpose on how the organization creates value and how individuals can contribute. It serves as a guide for decision-making and effective action. It will attract commitment by defining the challenge and establishing what "good" looks like.

What is a Vision used for?

After a vision has been set by the group it can help the team to do many other activities while ensuring that all outcomes contribute to a shared direction, e.g. :

  1. Narrowing down which problems are worth solving
  2. Come up with potential solution ideas
  3. Deciding which ideas to pursue (which lead toward the shared direction)
  4. Prevent disagreements and competing ideas

How to write a vision


  • Be aspirational (not necessarily achievable)
  • Think far into the future (e.g. 1-5 years)
  • Have a clear direction (not be ambiguous)

Format & content

A vision should include:

  1. A time frame
  2. (e.g. "In 2 years...", or "By 2025...")

  3. A specific aspirational achievement
  4. A metric (optional)
  5. (e.g. "...faster than competitor x", "...50% more efficient")

Activity: Vision Setting (30 mins)

Introduce the activity

  • Explain that this vision will help the team move in the same direction with future activities
  • Introduce "How to write a Vision" (👆 above)

Step 1: Write multiple ideas

  • Set a timer for 5 minutes
  • Each person individually writes 1 (or a few) versions of a Vision using the format described
  • ...and sticks them anonymously on a board
  • Example from a real session
    Example from a real session

Step 2: Voting

  • Set a 5 minute timer
  • Everyone gets one vote each to choose the Vision they think is:
    1. The most ambitious...
    2. ...and clearest statement that will be easy for the team to follow
  • Tips:
    • They are allowed to vote on their own stickies
    • You can give people more than one vote if you feel there are too many stickies on the board

Step 3: Final decision

  • One person in the group should play the role of the Decider (read Using a Decider )
  • This should be the person who has real accountability for the direction of the team/project e.g. Project director, team leader, ...
  • Set a 10 minute timer. In any order the Decider should:
    • Use half the time to consult the team (if they want to), e.g.: Ask them questions, explain their thoughts and get feedback, ...
    • Use half the time to think on their own
    • Then they should place a final "Decider vote" on the Vision they think is best to guide the team
    • Example from a real session
      Example from a real session

Additional Resources

Recommended reading
Additional Resources
  • Mural - digital collaboration board