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How can we emerge from the crisis into a more resilient, sustainable future?

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30 Apr 2020
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By Roger Thorp
Senior Worker (959 XP)
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How can we emerge from the crisis into a more resilient, sustainable future?


 

FORUM FOR THE FUTURE

 

A crisis call for systemic change

At the outset of 2020 much was said about this being the year of action in a decade of change. Now, with over a million people infected with COVID-19, and more than half the human population under some kind of lockdown, this unprecedented pandemic is radically and irrevocably changing the world. 

Business as usual is no longer possible. Governments, businesses and foundations urgently need to enable the systemic change needed to develop a new normal that orients towards a flourishing people and planet.

What is Forum’s response?

We are working with our partners from across all sectors to make sense of the noise and to understand how, together, we can navigate an overwhelming environment while also supporting the development of new business models, new ways of organising and new narratives and visions that will help us emerge into a more sustainable future by:

  • Making sense of COVID-19 in context and what it means for the decade ahead by revealing the complex interplay of dynamic trends which are shaping the world
  • Providing tools, insights and systemic approaches to navigating the uncertainty of the status quo and the complexity of the decade ahead
  • Exploring with our partners how to contribute to new narratives and visions that will help all sectors of society and the economy define the new normal we are hoping to emerge into

The program we've set out focuses on three distinct but complimentary objectives:

1. PROCESSING THE EXPERIENCE

A series of Open Zoom sessions designed to enable the sharing of our personal and professional experiences of the situation and help our partners make sense of the change and tensions we are all living through. By creating and facilitating spaces to stop, share, listen, and process what is unfolding we aim to enable peer learning and identify patterns and questions in a shared spirit of solidarity and empathy.

View our upcoming Open Zoom sessions

In addition to online events, we are now publishing a new blog series on Medium - Diary of Discontinuity. This Diary, from the heart of Forum for the Future - our staff, and from our partners, examines the day-to-day experience of living in a COVID-19 discontinuity to support others in navigating this moment of massive change. And is intended to give us insight into the personal aspect of living the complexity of a shifting paradigm and help us learn, what it takes, and what it doesn’t, to achieve a more regenerative future.
Contributions encouraged at [email protected]  

Read our Diary of Discontinuity on Medium 

 

2. PUTTING COVID-19 IN CONTEXT

A series of online workshops, using elements of content from the Future of Sustainability 2020 report (to be published later this year) like our mapping of key dynamic areas, focused on viewing COVID-19-related changes through a futures and systems lens while developing sets of trajectories and scenarios for practical application in specific business context. The series will include:

  • COVID-19 and the coming decade's dynamic areas
    COVID-19 shook the start of the new decade yet is likely only the first in a series of shocks that could take us by surprise in the coming years. What might those other shocks/openings be? How can we be better prepared moving forward? In this workshop we will introduce a mapping of the dynamic areas we are seeing for the coming decade to illustrate the concept of the world system dynamics and use it to identify points for preparation and intervention as the world rebuilds after COVID-19.

  • Future trajectories - what is the emerging future we can be planning for now? 
    Introducing Forum’s ongoing enquiry work -  presenting our four trajectories supported by relevant signals of change - these open futures working sessions will encourage collective sensemaking through participatory development of an adapted set of future trajectories, as the world adjusts to the deep discontinuity introduced by COVID-19. Relevant for anyone who’s engaged with futures practice or simply wants to learn more while playing an active role in the process.

View our upcoming events

 

3. WHAT'S NEXT? PRACTICAL AND SYSTEMIC ADVICE

A series of online sessions offering ideas and a structured way to design more systemic strategies while sharing with, and learning from, your peers the challenges we are all facing, and ways in which we might embrace and respond to the crisis moving forward.
This series will include:

  • Introductory sessions and story sharing sessions with guest speakers talking through practical steps they’ve taken to pivot their organisations
  • Online learning moments introducing helpful frameworks we use at the School of System Change

Across these workshops, we will be focusing on introducing practical system change and futures frameworks and tools that will help to support you in navigating this crisis and understanding how you can play a role in creating a more positive post-COVID-19 world. 

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Participating in external discussions

We’re also open to taking part and adding our perspectives to external events - ensuring we maximise the value of participatory engagements - having a single, constructive, multi-partner exchange rather than a number of separate, individual conversations. Reach out to us if there’s alignment in what we’re trying to do and/or if there’s an event you’d like us to be a part of.
Contact us at [email protected] 

Individual support and coaching 

We are also working individually with partners and networks on supporting them in the transitional phase and helping them apply futures and systems approaches in designing post-COVID strategies, and defining the role they have to play their part in rebuilding global systems in a way that is sustainable, fair, and resilient. 

Get in touch 

SCHOOL OF SYSTEM CHANGE

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