If you think quantum-theoretically, the simplest form of schematising the future is the question: “Which of two possible circumstances will occur?”. Clearly, the one will happen and become the present and the other will not arise, although it was potentially possible. Therefore, futures ‘exist’ which never become the present: missed, discarded, overlooked, avoided, prevented, escaped, withdrawn, unknown and coincidental possibilities that never arose! Organisations, teams and people shape the future field of possibilities. To a great extent, this happens implicitly, habitually or unconsciously. For the last twenty years we have chosen the same holiday destination and don’t know what we have missed elsewhere, yet we are, nevertheless, content.
Organisations have thrown away many design prototypes and don’t know whether they may have discarded a magnificent future with this eliminated possibility. With their decisions, all systems unavoidably exclude other possibilities. The future has passed, before it has even occurred. This can be functional or dysfunctional. In the same way, there are cases in which every imaginable option is re-visited again and again and alternatives are discussed in ever decreasing circles, maintaining them as an option. This, too, can be favourable or unfavourable. Systems, because of the time structure, are under pressure to choose from future possibilities that may arise or be created.