Imagine Aruba (Nos Aruba 2025) was a process where 60,000 people (out of a population of just over 100,00) participated in developing a vision of a preferred future and making it happen. Within the framework of an Appreciative Inquiry into the future of the Island, we ran a series of open courses in foresight and scenario planning which engaged people in thinking not only about their aspirations, but also about them in the context of different unfolding future environments, and how these might provide opportunities for the sustainable development of their Island home.
These courses not only produced some amazing insights but also spurred attendees to take what they had learned and repeat the process in their communities, workplaces and schools, engaging all ages from primary school to pensioners in a new conversation about the future of their Island, and how to improve it for themselves and the lives of their children and grandchildren. Visions of the future were played out, literally, as powerful and emotionally charged plays, music, poetry and art as a means of further engaging others in co-creating their own future. Additionally, a number of scenarios created from external forces on the Island economy were developed so that the robustness of plans as they emerged could be tested, further generating ways that the strengths of the people can be applied in creating a future in which the people thrive, even against adverse external circumstances. The implantation of the plans generated by this process are now well in hand. Most importantly, public participation in policy making, involving all stakeholders, is now a well-established process on the island.