As I listen to the partisan bickering in Washington D.C., I mourn the loss of ideas that could be fueled by real engagement. Rather than lob old ideas and quick fixes across the aisle like rhetoric bombs, they should be finding a common ground for strategic play.
Scenario planning, at its very core, calls for the integration and interplay of disparate ideas. As the ideas bend and churn to craft the narratives, they do amazing things to each other, including creating new ideas from the synthesis or reaction of the ideas in play. Scenarios also create an imaginative playground where opposing forces can find a way forward among seemingly insurmountable ideological differences.
So I challenge our elected official in Washington DC to not just reach across the aisle, but to throw a ball across the aisle, to find the courage to confront the future in a serious, and robust way. South Africa would not be the South Africa we know today without strategic play. The Mont Fleur scenarios were essential in helping South Africa imagine a way forward in what could have been one of history’s most chaotic shifts in power.
So what about it House and Senate. Get out of your ideological silos, your lobbies and your offices, your tea parties and your caucuses, and figure out a vision for America that uses the differences of opinion, the subtle agreements and the insightful offers as a starting point for reimagining our collective future. And by-the-way, make sure you let the American people play too. When you start seriously playing, you never know where the great ideas will come from, so be constantly vigilant, and radically open to innovation, no matter its source.