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Newspaper Headline Futurespective

The Newspaper Headline Futurespective will help the team visualise what their short-term future could look like in different scenarios.By asking the team to think in this way, you will unearth concerns and worries that the team have - and the best thing is that you can support them to course correct to ensure the future is positive & successful.

Tools Required

• Whiteboard and markers (or a digital alternative)• Post-its and pens


  1. Divide your whiteboard (or digital alternative) into 3 sections:– Worst case scenario– Business as usual– Best case scenario
  2. Separately, draw a horizontal line marked 0% to 100% and title it:“How likely is this to happen?”
  1. Ask the group to imagine their making headline news in 3 months’ time, then ask them to capture what that headline would be in the worst case scenario. Time box 3 minutes to allow people to think & capture suggestions. Ask the team to place their suggestions on the board for all to read.
  1. Next give the team 2 votes each to allocate as they wish and identify the winning headline. Open up a discussion about this and encourage people to share why they voted for this headline.
  1. Move the most voted newspaper headline over to the likelihood scale.
  2. Repeat the same process for the “Business as usual” and “Best case scenario” columns. You will end up with a winning headline for each category.
  1. Now ask the team to have a group discussion about where to place each headline on the scale depending on how likely they think each headline will become reality. Throughout the discussion the position of each headline may shift, but the aim is to get each in a position that everyone agrees to.
  1. Reflect as a group on where each headline has ended. Identify where the best case scenario headline is on the scale and ask the team to ideate what can be done to move this outcome closer to 100% likelihood.
  2. Share and discuss all suggestions and guide the team towards actions they can commit to.

Challenging Questions

“What do we need to do now to avoid this outcome?”Creating actions to avoid something negative happening in the future.“What can we do now to increase the likelihood of our best case scenario becoming a reality?”Although the team can’t control everything that will happen in the future, there will be some actions that can improve their outlook.“Has anyone got a different view on this?”Gives those who maybe don’t agree with the current conversation an opportunity to speak up.“Is there anyone who hasn’t spoken on this theme yet that would like to contribute?”Offers an opportunity for the quieter members of the team to speak.“Is this within our circle of control?”Sometimes we raise very valid issues, however, the solution may be totally outside of our control. Asking this question can help bring a conversation to a constructive conclusion and move the team along to issues that are within their ability to control.


In this session, the team would have been thinking about their future, not something commonly done as a whole team. This approach encourages a different way of thinking and is a great opportunity for them to imagine what could happen, what might be possible and more importantly, how they can change the course of the future for the better.When discussing and agreeing actions to increase the likelihood of the best case scenario headline, ask the team to think about what is in their control. It is very easy to list of things that the wider business could do to solve all their problems but that is not a realistic expectation to have. Keep the conversation focused on what they team can change themselves.Enjoyed this retrospective? It is also available in our signature comic strip style for easy reading and sharing. View and download the pdf here.

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