Steve McCarthy, Executive Director, Envision

Envision Greater Green Bay has trained nearly 100 local leaders in strategic foresight from more than 50 organizations, and that number will grow by 25-30 people annually. In a few years, Northeast Wisconsin could reach a tipping point in strategic foresight. No longer will futuring be a discipline for just some organizations: It will be a required skill for anyone responsible for securing their organization’s preferred future. And in a few years after that, perhaps our area’s school systems will have incorporated strategic foresight into their curricula.

That is not pie-in-the-sky wishful thinking. That is the reality Envision Greater Green Bay is actively trying to bring about. We want strategic foresight to be in Northeast Wisconsin’s DNA. Doing so will help ensure that Greater Green Bay is a community of choice, a place where people who grow up here wish to stay and people from other parts of the world wish to move to.

Our area already has plenty going for it: a relatively low cost of living and low crime rate, comparatively more affordable housing, abundant fresh water and other natural resources, a strong sense of community and civic engagement, and intentionality to be an improving place to live, work and play. And home to the Green Bay Packers.

With climate change driving extreme weather events along the coasts and prolonged droughts in the desert southwest, “climate migrants” are increasingly seeing the Great Lakes region as a desirable destination. Green Bay is in the mix. Duluth, Milwaukee, Detroit, Toledo, Cleveland, and other cities along the Great Lakes will be other options for people seeking refuge from the worst effects of climate change.

We will compete with these other cities for people, businesses, arts and culture, and all the opportunities that an increasingly diverse and growing population will bring. Envision Greater Green Bay’s aim is to help ensure we experience the kind of future we all want, rather than simply reacting, belatedly, to trends or events as they unfold. To paraphrase Miguel de Unamuno, it is better to be the parents of our future rather than the offspring of our past.