A vision is a compelling image of the preferred future that sets out a group’s or organisation’s highest aspirations in clear, powerful, confident language. It is what futurist Clement Bezold calls “a future for the heart.” It is more than an idea. When people really take a vision seriously, it becomes an inspirational ’force’ in their lives that pulls the present toward the envisioned future, acting as a self-fulfilling prophecy.
A vision’s power lies in its ability to motivate and align efforts. When people are committed to a vision, they will stretch themselves and their organisations to make it happen. Visions raise people’s personal aspirations and provide a focus for collective activity. They create a ‘big picture’ of ‘where we are going’ that makes day-to-day activity more meaningful.
For a vision to truly be a force in people’s hearts, it must:
- Be legitimate
- Be shared
- Express people’s highest aspirations for what they want to create in the world
- Stretch beyond the limits of current realities
- Conceivably be achievable within a specific time frame
ICN’s Vision for the Future of Nursing meets all these criteria. It can be a powerful force for guiding and motivating our efforts if we take it into our hearts, keep it before us, and use it actively in our planning and decision-making.
The vision was publicly released in 1999, at the end of ICN’s first century, to point the way to what is possible in the century ahead. To give it force, we need to bring it into our lives in every way possible: post it on our walls, publish it in our journals, put it on our Web sites, bring it into our curricula, celebrate our commitment to it in our gatherings.
Institute for Alternative Futures