Bridge to the Future

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In order to understand better what changes your own ideas can bring about, it can help to picture a bridge. On one side of the bridge is the present or the past, on the other side is the future. The two sides are connected by a bridge, which represents the initiative. This bridge will be built by answering constructive questions. Answers can be written or drawn.

Time 90 minutes

Material paper and pens

Group Size 1-30 people

Keywords Ideation, Project Concept, Social Impact


Also interesting:

Handbook #4

N. Zimmermann, E. Leondieva, M. Gawinek-Dagargulia

Fourth Handbook for Facilitators: Read more


  • Reflecting on the status quo, identifying current problems and things that are lacking
  • Creating a vision for the future
  • Identifying different solutions for different problems


1. Draw a bridge. The left hand side is the participants' current state. On this side, you will make a note of everything that occurs to you when answering the questions that follow. Btfuture.png

Current state

  • What is needed?
  • What is the problem?
  • What exactly is bothering me?
  • Why is that a problem?
  • What worsens the problem or prevents the solution?
  • What would the future look like if things continue as they are?


  • How can I implement the changes I want to see?
  • Why me?
  • Who else has an interest in such change?

Desired state

  • What is the situation now?
  • What exactly has changed?
  • What is the improvement?
  • How can I recognize it?

2. After answering all the questions on the present/past side, you travel to the far bank, or the future side. On this side, write down what the future reality should look like. Be as specific as possible.

3. Next, think about your involvement and initiative. Which problem would you like to address and what might be some possible steps to get there? Imagine what the bridge looks like, who are the people crossing, what can happen, and how.

If you’re working in a team, begin with individuals working on their own bridges independently, and then sharing them. You can build the bridge from various materials. Just make sure that the ideas and answers are written down.


Let the participants share and briefly describe what they came up with. Divide them into small groups (max. 4 people), keeping an eye on the time. After working individually, some participants may have a greater need to talk and share their ideas, but this step should not exceed 20 minutes.


Heike Fahrun, Nils-Eyk Zimmermann, Eliza Skowron: Initiative Cookbook - Homemade Civic Engagement - An Introduction into Project Management, Berlin 2015;

Heike Fahrun

Facilitator and educational expert since 2001, author of handbooks for facilitators. Focus: particuipation, civil engagement, diversity-cobnscious learning, rememberance, mentoring, train-the-trainer.


It may be the case that some participants have multiple ideas for initiatives and their involvement, and have not yet decided for themselves which idea they prefer. Encourage them to sketch both. Allow people to express themselves in whatever way is most comfortable to them. Some may prefer to draw, some to write down the aspects chronologically, others may prefer mindmapping. The task can work with all of them.

The newer a concept, the more intensively the concept must be explained. Concepts that are more straightforward are easier to grasp. Therefore, self-explanation is not necessarily a quality criteria, but some learners may need more space than others when working on their explanatory skillset.


You can also use the metaphor of a sea or a tree or a river.