One collective ‘We’ in A Future We Want

Four inspiring ideas towards A Future We Want at the first Inspiration Swarm!

agenda June 14, 2018

Keynote of the afternoon: A mind shift from Us versus Them thinking to one collective ‘We’ with the most affected in the lead.

A Future We Want
What are the opportunities and challenges for (Dutch) development cooperation in the future? To become future-fit in the field of development cooperation, Partos / The Spindle initiated the Future Exploration project. A team of 35 explorers with different backgrounds, created four plausible scenarios for the future and a fifth desirable future: A Future We Want. The findings of this trajectory are shared in an online interactive report and this final report ‘Adapt, Counteract or Transform. The future of Dutch development cooperation‘.

The first session
A system change and transformative and provocative action are felt needed. To challenge this inside out thinking of the Future Exploration, fresh and blunt opinions to signal our blind spots are more than welcome. This is why on May 31st, we invited several inspiring people from inside, but also outside the Dutch development sector at Spring House to talk about A Future We Want. Social entrepreneurs, NGO workers, innovation managers and a visual artist were amongst the vibrant group of participants. People with different backgrounds are put together, in the hope that they encourage each other to get out of their bubble, think out of the box and inspire each other. It can furthermore support the creation of a new comfort zone: one where we make a collective impact.

Choose your focus and go!
Participants were put to work immediately and split into four different teams. Each team got to choose their own focus point and set up a creative and innovative idea on this subject. With the help of stickers, post-its, pictures, drawings and magic markers the participants started brainstorming about their ideas. At the end of the session all four teams pitched their idea as a pilot in front of the group. Every idea included an aspect of the mind shift from Us versus Them thinking to one collective ‘We’ with the most affected in the lead. It’s this particular mind shift that predominated the afternoon of the first Inspiration Swarm.

An impression of the ideas:

Idea 1: Crowd Ventures
Start-up owned by the crowd; the most affected in the lead. The crowd decides which products are produced and they manufacture this themselves. The new role of the start-ups is to create a system that enables the most affected to produce the products they want in their own community.

Idea 2: A business model in A Future We Want
What could be the potential for businesses to do good? Provocative action by NGOs is needed in this case, so they can challenge companies to copy business models with a ‘donut’, which are inclusive, regenerative and distributive. They try to either put companies out of market share or try to change their competitors to have a more social approach as well. This way NGOs are changing the rules of the game.

Idea 3: Making capacity visible with a Festival of Strengths
In A Future We Want we must get rid of the idea that money is the only driving force behind development. The Festival of Strengths invites people who are the most affected or have a stake in a certain issue. Therefore, it’s a hub where different stakeholders gather including NGOs, companies, students and so on and a place where capacities can be mobilised. It’s a way to discover in a playful manner what different people can do and what their strengths are.

Idea 4: Who is ‘We’?
The title of the publication ‘A Future We Want’ refers to a ‘we’, but who is ‘we’? And how can we show the right behavior ourselves? An idea of a meeting (during the General Assembly) with the 100 directors of development organisations (members of Partos) emerged. Directors of member organisations can then talk about relevant obstacles to promote behavioral change within their organisations in relationship with stakeholders.

Do you feel like sharpening our next steps? As systemic change and transformation are felt needed, your input and insights will be most welcome!
More information: mail to Annewies Kuipers via

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