Teams time-travelled to explore four future scenarios of (Dutch) development cooperation

What will (Dutch) development cooperation look like in 2025?

agenda January 16, 2018

Can we formulate different scenarios of the future of (Dutch) development cooperation? To answer this and related questions, Partos set up a future exploration team. During a second session last week, the team built upon the major trends and key uncertainties identified in the first session. The most critical uncertainties served as the base for four possible future scenarios. During the workshop all participants time-travelled to these scenarios to explore what the world (of development cooperation) could look like in 2025.

Although there are many uncertainties for the future, two seem to jump out: the spreading of power (concentrated vs. spread) and the socio-economic approach the world is taking (regenerative economy vs. finance-driven economy). These are major developments of which it is unsure which way the dice will role, but that will have a deep impact on society. They could be critical to shaping the future of (Dutch) development cooperation, depending on the way they develop. These two key uncertainties are used to frame possible futures, by putting them in a matrix, leading to four scenarios:

  1. Concentrated power in a regenerative economy
  2. Concentrated power in a finance-driven economy
  3. Spread power in a regenerative economy
  4. Spread power in a finance-driven economy

These are major developments of which it is unsure which way the dice will role, but that will have a major impact on society.

Future scenarios of 2025
All members of the exploration team time-travelled to 2025 and visited the different worlds that would exist based on these scenarios. They fleshed out the future scenarios, by describing how the various trends will turn out in each scenario. Also taking into account what impact this would have on (Dutch) development cooperation. What would this world mean for needs and demands, actors, policies, types of crises and funding mechanisms?

toekomstverkenning 2

After this the exploration team split up into four groups. Every group brought one of the scenarios alive by constructing the story of this scenario and using the process of ‘backcasting’; imaginary moving backwards in time to look how this scenario got into place. What are the actions, assumptions, risks, benefits and other indicators that have led to this current situation in 2025? All teams presented their future scenario (with great creativity!) to the future explorers from the ‘other worlds’.

What’s next?
During the third workshop (1 February 2018) the implications and options for future policies and actions for development cooperation are explored. This spring, the results of all workshops are published in an online interactive report. Now you can already read and listen to 100+ stories about the future of (Dutch) development cooperation in the Sprockler-visualizer. These stories were collected using an inquiry in which people were asked to share their story of which they think is a forecast of the future. In the Sprockler you also find an analysis of the results of this inquiry: a summary of the emerging themes from the forecasting stories.

Want to know more about the future exploration? Check the online magazine ‘Exploring the Future’ or visit the project page for regular updates!


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