The Wave

Description: The WAVE helps to identify the activities and trends that influence or will influence a community or organization in the past, present, and future.


  1. Identify the issue or topic under discussion. (i.e. aging population, community revitalization, active citizens, drug addictions among seniors, etc.)

  2. Have participants identify the major factors and trends that affected the topic in:

    • The past (fading)

    • The present (current)

    • The near future (5 to 10 years) i.e. emerging

    • The distant future (10 to 20 years and beyond) i.e. on the horizon

  3. Write on cards or post-it notes and post under the matching column.

  4. Cluster the notes into common themes, and write these themes onto a different coloured card or note and place on the chart.

  5. Hold a conversation about the themes - see following questions.


  1. What words, phrases, or images stand out for you when you view this wave of ideas?

  2. What do you really agree with? What do you see that really fits for you?

  3. Where are you unclear about ideas?

  4. What concerns you?

  5. What linkages do you see here? What did you learn? Why is it important to identify these trends?

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