Future exploration #3: the implications of the scenarios

The explorers analysed the four possible future scenarios on their implications for the future of (Dutch) development organisations

What are the opportunities and challenges for (Dutch) development cooperation in the future? To answer these and related questions, Partos / The Spindle set up a future exploration team in 2017. During the third session last Thursday, the explorers analysed the four possible future scenarios on their implications for the future of (Dutch) development organisations and other actors.

In the first session of the future exploration trends and uncertainties were identified. These trends and uncertainties served as the base for four possible future scenarios, that were composed during the second session. Although there are many uncertainties for the future, two seemed to jump out: the centralisation of power (concentrated vs. spread) and the socio-economic approach the world is taking (regenerative economy vs. finance-driven economy). These two key uncertainties were used to frame possible futures, by putting them in a matrix, leading to four scenarios:

  • Sustainable order- concentrated power in a regenerative economy
  • Markets rule – concentrated power in a finance-driven economy
  • Our commons – spread power in a regenerative economy
  • Nations first – spread power in a finance-driven economy

The implications of the four scenarios
These four possible future scenarios were used during the third session. What happens in each of these scenarios and what are the implications thereof for development cooperation? The answers to these questions were discussed in a world café-setting by the Future Exploration Team.

Each scenario had its own prevalent implications such as ‘government stops funding for development cooperation’ (scenario 4), ‘lots of bottom up activities for a better world, but fragmentation hinders progress, due to lack of coordination (scenario 3), ‘exclusion from decision making, democratic deficit’ (scenario 1), and  ‘further detoriation of the planet and increased inequality’ (scenario 2).

What’s next?
The real thing is yet to come. Looking at these four scenarios – at one side – and pursuing a better world (SDGs, Donut economy, etc.): What will be our agenda and options for change? During the fourth workshop (8 March 2018), we will explore the transformative actions for development cooperation. 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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