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 fourth session on the 8 March 2018, the explorers analysed which transformative, bold actions are needed to create ‘the future we want’.
Bart Romijn (Director of Partos) shared ideas about the desired future, based on the sessions held earlier. Prominent in his story was the shift of thinking in the currency of money – which dominates development cooperation nowadays – towards a currency of capacity in terms of creativity, connectivity, skills and time. This framing would stimulate new ways to create a regenerative and fair economy. The Sustainable Development Goals give direction to create a world with care for human needs and social and planetary boundaries.
Moving towards the desired future
In the first round, the explorers visualised the world in 2025 on a huge ‘mood wall’. Using images and imaginary headlines, they explored their aspirations for the future world. Noticeable was a desire for a power shift. Power, resources and information in the future are more democratically spread around the world than it is nowadays.
In the second round the team looked back at the recommendations that were gathered in the earlier sessions and in the Sprockler. The participants rated the recommendations of their potentially transformative impact. For example, the advice ‘Keep asking yourself: do I have added value? If not, move out of the way… ’ was highly rated. Thereby acknowledging a desire to reflect on the legitimacy of the development sector, their organisational strategy and core mission.
Next step was diving further into the transformative actions needed to change the future. Thinking about ‘prouds and sorries’ helped the participants to evaluate: What am I already doing that will help create the future we want? What am I not doing enough to reach a better future?
Transformative bold actions
Some of the transformative bold actions that appeared in the following discussions:
- Innovate more drastically within the sector.
- Revision the existing power relations between Southern and Northern NGOs. Search for another role of the Northern NGOs.
- Give space to new forms of collaborations between organisations, in a more feminine and ‘bottom-up’ manner.
- Give space to informal groups emerging and occupying civic space (through social media promoting change). NGOs can support or facilitate these new movements.
- Create awareness about global citizenship and a global connectivity through education.
- A more top-down approach on working with the SDGs goals.
- A learning mindset is needed around the integrity policy.
All the input of participants will be analysed the coming weeks. In the online report, you can follow the interim results of the future exploration.