Creating shared foresight infrastructure

Grant-making practices
Civil society infrastructure
Emerging opportunity

Aims and activities

Aims and questions

We think civil society needs to get better at creating and using strategic foresight.

We're trying to help funders avoid commissioning individual pieces of strategic foresight work and to explore ways of creating a foresight commons or shared foresight infrastructure across foundations.

If funders collaborated on the creation and commissioning of it as a shared resource - and shared more widely with civil society - then it can create a foresight commons. This should help foundations to fund more wisely, more strategically and with more relevance. We are asking how this work can be done so that it creates real value.

Our first Civil Society Foresight Report shows how civil society can actively shape the future, and apply long-term thinking to some of the biggest issues affecting society, including how to:

- make climate care an everyday activity

- bridge social divisions

- increase wellbeing

- deal with the over-reach of new technologies.

It also shows the power of co-creating with representatives from across civil society organisations. The workshop process was not created to smooth out disagreement, but rather to hold and develop multiple perspectives — to show a possible multiplicity of outcomes, rather than refine towards a single answer.

How to get involved

We are developing the next stage of work with a small group of funders - identifying how to create and share foresight infrastructure. If you are interested in being involved in contributing to the development of this shared foresight infrastructure, then please contact Rachel Coldicutt.

Who's involved

We are exploring this work with City Bridge Trust, Paul Hamlyn Foundation and others who have attended workshops so far.

Learning and Resources

The first Civil Society Foresight report (published in March 2022) 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.

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