Careful Industries
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Careful Industries

How to use the Civil Society Foresight report

A guide to how funders, civil society organisations and policymakers can use the Belonging, Care and Repair Foresight report.

The cover of a report — a white page with a blue section in the middle, reading “Belonging, Care, and Repair: Possible, Plausible and Just Futures for Civil Society”. There are some illustrations below of maps, mobile phone screens, certificates.

Who is it for?

This report is for anyone making plans for the future. In particular, we hope it will be a useful strategic tool for funders, civil society organisations, and policymakers who are developing strategies for long-term change.

What is it?

A way of looking ahead that makes it easier to see past the overwhelming present and focus on creating longer-term change.

It highlights what is missing now; what is too dominant; and it shows that innovation is something driven by people, not technologies.

How was it created?

The scenarios here were produced through a relational process. (More on that process in our report “ A Constellation of Possible Futures”.) Our team brought together thirteen civil society leaders with lived, learned and practice experience; introduced them to some of the “ official” futures created by management consultancies, trade bodies and banks (reports that focus on things like retail and transport and financial capital); and we then all participated in a workshop process that took us to 2036 and beyond.

A diamond with post it notes on it — the labels Societal Resistance, Redistribution and collective practices, Societal respite, and blue post its in the middle that say “Principled resistance”, “Learning to value nature”, “Rights of the few or many”, “Social empathy”, “Deep rest”
A representation of a set of Post-Its from the workshop process

What does it cover?

The concepts explored in this report include the notion of care in a climate-altered world; a sketch of what happens when a nation welcomes migrants at scale; the psychological toll of social division; and the possible outcomes of technological breakdown. The outputs focussed on ways to reduce fear, overcome entrenched barriers, and increase spirituality and belonging.

Importantly, the process never asked for agreement or utopia; instead, it held a space for tension, disagreement, and pragmatism. And it surfaced the strategic knowledge of expertise of people in civil society with a wide range of experience.

Shared foresight for shared futures

Many foresight reports never become public. Particularly in corporate settings, foresight can be seen as a strategic advantage — a way of outmanoeuvring competitors or getting ahead of the curve. Now is a great time to push those notions of competition aside and instead start building a set of shared visions that can spark many new futures — a step towards unlocking more potential for innovation, risk taking, and collaborating to build the world we want to see.

We hope this process and the three futures we are sharing here become the start of a bigger shared infrastructure: a place where civil society can build a collection of possible futures, share insight, and build a series of collective visions for a better future.

A composite image featuring an award, a mobile phone, a certificate, and some NFC tokens for non-violent communication
Developing new systems of care image

How to use it

Use these futures to help define the change you want to see in the world. As you read them, consider your own strategic aims and ask the following questions:

  • What might 2036 look like if you deliver your vision or strategic aims?
  • What might it look like if you don’t?
  • What would people still need?
  • What would the dominant culture be?
  • What would the backlash, or counter-culture, look like?
  • What would need to stay in place for you to continue achieving your vision?

In Section two of the report, we have summarised the themes we discerned from private sector foresight, and set out the challenges they pose for civil society. Consider what might happen if these trends continue unchecked: what will it mean for equity and social justice if capital and resilience dominate at the expense of everything else?

Most importantly, this work is a way to get beyond the here and now, and beyond the immediate tactical constraints that are getting in the way of your ambition.

What’s next?

We are working with a small group of funders to build more shared foresight infrastructure; our aim is to support the creation of a commons, in which futures like this build, over time, to create a universe of strategic inspiration — a set of possibilities for what might, can and should come next.

Please get in touch if you are interested in being with involved with or supporting this work. Email hello@careful.industries

Originally published at https://www.careful.industries on March 15, 2022.

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Blogposts from the Careful Industries team, a UK research studio

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Rachel Coldicutt

Rachel Coldicutt

Exploring careful innovation, community tech and networked care. Day job: @carefultrouble .