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Catalysts for change: vizualizing the horizon of poverty

Kathi Vian (Based at the Institute for the Future, Palo Alto, California, USA)
Matt Chwierutt (Based at the Institute for the Future, Palo Alto, California, USA)
Tessa Finlev (Based at the Institute for the Future, Palo Alto, California, USA)
David Evan Harris (Based at the Institute for the Future, Palo Alto, California, USA)
Maureen Kirchner (Based at the Institute for the Future, Palo Alto, California, USA)

Foresight

ISSN: 1463-6689

Article publication date: 2 November 2012

323

Abstract

Purpose

The Institute for the Future (IFTF) has collaborated with the Rockefeller Foundation and its Searchlight function to create a framework for broad engagement in strategic thinking about ways to catalyze change in the lives of poor or vulnerable communities. This paper seeks to focus on this broad‐based approach.

Design/methodology/approach

Starting from the top‐down horizon scan of the foundation's Searchlight partners – a network of horizon scanning organizations – IFTF created a public database of signals of innovation and disruption in the domain of poverty and social change. This signals database was used to build a visual map of catalysts for change, creating a simple hierarchy of four catalyst types, each containing four action zones and a pivotal challenge. This map provided the language and framework for engaging a global community in a serious game to extend the vision of the Searchlight function and capture novel ideas for innovations that could improve the lives of those in marginalized communities.

Findings

With an estimated global reach of 160,000 views and 1,600 game players from 79 countries, the game produced more than 18,000 ideas about catalysts for change.

Originality/value

This framework of foresight (the signals database) to insight (the visual map of catalysts for change) to action (global strategic game) demonstrates a way to integrate top‐down expert foresight with bottom‐up strategic ideation on a global scale.

Keywords

Citation

Vian, K., Chwierutt, M., Finlev, T., Evan Harris, D. and Kirchner, M. (2012), "Catalysts for change: vizualizing the horizon of poverty", Foresight, Vol. 14 No. 6, pp. 450-467. https://doi.org/10.1108/14636681211284917

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2012, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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