Co-View (Collaborative Vision Exploration Workbench)

Co-View is a tool to help facilitators of natural resource management and stakeholders to articulate and explore a shared vision of the future and to develop strategies to achieve it.

As the world changes ever more rapidly the risk of rural people in developing countries being disconnected from the urban and more developed world becomes increasingly acute. It is vital for rural people to be able to keep pace with and adapt to this rate of change in order to sustain and improve their livelihoods.

One promising approach for coping with change is by generating a shared vision of the future through facilitated participatory visioning processes. Visioning has become widely accepted as an important tool for empowering local communities to gain confidence over their future. Articulating and working through such visions has been shown to help rural communities to improve their livelihood strategies. Furthermore, recent research with rural people in Zimbabwe has shown that participatory modelling can complement visioning processes by supporting learning among the stakeholders, thus improving action planning.

Our aim in developing Co-View is to strengthen this link between visioning and modelling, by making it easier to use a visioning process as the entry point for modelling, and to use the results of simulation modelling to help to generate strategies for achieving the vision.

Co-View has been designed to support social learning, in which the dreams and understanding of the members of the group are brought together leading to new shared insights and joint strategies for action. It has been developed and tested with local communities in Zimbabwe within a programme of participatory action research on adaptive resource management strategies.

Co-View includes:

  1. A practical guide to facilitating a participatory visioning process;
  2. Future Scenario, Scenarios as a Tool for Adaptive Forest Management
  3. a simply written, illustrated guide to participatory modelling;
  4. 'The Bridge', a computer-based tool for expressing a vision and converting it into the basis of a simulation model;
  5. 'The Power to Change!” game, a team game for using a model to explore various future scenarios. (Simile software required).

Co-View requires access to a simulation modelling environment. The initial implementation of the Bridge and the interface to the Power Game are based on a freely available environment called Simile. Below is figure shows different components of Co-View and how they are related each other.

Figure. Interrelationship among components in Co-View

Download The Bridge (Zip format, 4.4MB)


You can transform the model built in The Bridge into .sml format of Simile. Simile is a software for computer simulation of complex dynamic systems in the earth, environmental and life sciences. You can get a free edition of Simile at

  Download 'The Power to Change!” game (7 KB). Click here to download.

  Download related papers. Click here to download.