Futures CoLab

About Futures CoLab

Futures CoLab, a collaboration of MIT Center for Collective Intelligence and Future Earth, is a network of diverse international experts, a platform for online collaboration, and a process for asynchronous and facilitated dialogue. The goal of Futures CoLab is to enable subject matter experts to collectively explore solutions to global systemic challenges.

Exploring solutions can take many forms. In the past we have conducted scenario development exercises, employing a structured process to draw out and integrate diverse knowledge to outline a range of plausible futures related to specific challenges, as well as facilitating more open-ended dialogues about identifying opportunities for positive transformative change. 

Futures CoLab is a collaboration of Future Earth and the MIT Center for Collective Intelligence and was launched in 2017.

Exercises

Digital Disruptions for Global Sustainability

Futures CoLab ran an online facilitated dialogue exercise from March 4 to March 24, 2019 to generate broad inputs to inform the development of the Digital Disruptions for Sustainability (D^2S Agenda). The goal was to explore disruptions to the systems sustaining unsustainability and opportunities to shift society toward a more equitable and sustainable path. The final report is now available for download.

Alternative Futures for Climate Philanthropy

A scenario development exercise in partnership with the ClimateWorks Foundation took place from July 9 to August 3, 2018. A broad range of experts participated, including members of Future Earth’s global network of researchers and other subject matter experts. This alternative futures exercise was not about prediction; it was about exploring possible futures that may influence philanthropic investments to drive climate mitigation.

Planetary Security Scenarios

During the fall of 2017, a predecessor platform to Futures CoLab was used to develop scenarios on how climate change might affect human security over a 3-5-year period. Over the course of six weeks, 60 participants worked together online to contribute more than 200 drivers of future change, nearly 40 mini-scenarios, and 7 full scenario narratives. A portion of the exercise took place in person at the Planetary Security conference in the Hague in December 2017.