Introduction to VISIS

An open-source methodology for doing sustainable development


VISIS stands for Vision > Indicators > Systems > Innovation > Strategy. These are the five critical steps in a sequenced, iterative 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. It has also been used by the United Nations and will be included in a toolbox of methods now being prepared by the UN.

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. A VISIS-based process helps build mutual understanding, collaboration, and consensus about the best way forward.

VISIS is an open-source methodology — that is, anyone can use it. It is also at the heart of the AtKisson Accelerator tools. Please note that the Accelerator tools are proprietary and protected by international copyright, and they require a license from AtKisson, Inc. to use them. (You can get a free, introductory version of the tools, called AcceleratorLite, here). But the VISIS Method, with its step-by-step approach to working together on sustainable development learning, plans, and strategies, requires no license.

AtKisson Group also makes available a free guide, Introduction to VISIS. You can order that guide here (you will immediately come to the registration and checkout screen):

Download the Introduction to VISIS

Note: “VISIS” was originally known as the “ISIS Method”. Vision was always part of the method, so when the name “ISIS” became associated with militants in Iraq and Syria, the name of the methodology was changed. Documents published before 2014 may still refer to the ISIS Method.