Vision, indicators, systems, innovation and strategy (VISIS) are the five critical steps in a process of goal-setting, assessment, analysis, initiative development, and planning, in a sustainable development context.
The VISIS Method was developed by Alan AtKisson in the 1990s, originally to support sustainable development efforts in city and regional planning. Today, VISIS is applied in a wide variety of sectors — business, government, education and research — around the world, as a framework for sustainability planning, training, and stakeholder facilitation.
VISIS is particularly well-suited for use with inter-disciplinary groups, such as multiple departments in an organization, or multiple ministries or agencies in a government setting.
VISIS is an open-source methodology — that is, anyone can use it and adapt it.
VISIS is also at the heart of the AtKisson Accelerator tools. AtKisson Group makes Accelerator Lite — a fully functional, simplified version of its professional consulting tools — available free of charge. The Accelerator tools include the “Sustainability Compass” orientation tool (Nature, Economy, Society, Wellbeing, also aligns well with the SDGs); the “Pyramid” teaching and planning workshop (for applying VISIS in a multi-stakeholder setting); and the “Amoeba” tool for teaching the principles of change agentry in a sustainability context. These tools are used in universities, schools, and both private and public sector organizations.
Please note that the Accelerator tools are proprietary and protected by international copyright. Use of the free Accelerator Lite tools requires acceptance of licensing terms from AtKisson, Inc. But use of the VISIS Method, with its step-by-step approach to working together on sustainable development learning, plans, and strategies, requires no license.
A key feature of the VISIS Method is its flexibility. It can be used in a great variety of organizational and geographic contexts, from government and organizational sustainable development planning, to regional economic development, to river basin management, to education for sustainable development. The method can be applied by a single individual in an analysis context, but it works best with a multi-stakeholder or multi-disciplinary group (of any size — processes with as many as 200 people have successfully used the method). The method can also be calibrated for different levels of complexity and sophistication, depending on the purpose of the initiative and the competency level of the engaged stakeholders.
Diagnostics, Programming methodologies, Sets of monitoring indicators and indices, Training programmes, Capacity building, Scenario builders, forecasting and back-casting methodologies
AtKisson Group (lead developer: Alan AtKisson)
Presentation for UNDESA on use of VISIS in national development planning in Belize: (English)
Presentation on VISIS to the UNOSD by Mr. Robert Steele: (English)
Article in special issue of Journal of Cleaner Production on integrated SD planning tools and use of Accelerator in universities: (English)
Training in the use of the VISIS Method and Accelerator tools is available on demand from AtKisson Group (http://AtKisson.com) or the Center for Sustainability Transformation (English)
Training for use of the tools in the education sector is available from a non-profit capacity development program called Compass Education: (English)