Future Trends

Future Trends

The Centre regularly scans the horizon for developments and changes which could determine the future relevance of international civil society organisations (ICSOs) and the important work that they do.

In cooperation with experts and thought leaders from our sector and beyond, we work on strategic issues relevant for all ICSOs. We produce specific recommendations to help ICSO leaders to prepare their organisations for the challenges of the future and focus ICSO voices and feed them into the relevant channels, thereby amplifying them at the global level.



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The conditions under which most civil society organisations (CSOs) operate are changing fast: persistent poverty requires new approaches; rising inequality generates conflict; climate change progresses unabatedly, and biodiversity is under threat. The Centre is working with innovators from civil society and beyond to overcome these obstacles, and secure a future in which we can all work cooperatively, innovatively, and sustainably.

Visit our Innovation page.


Securing Civic Space

Securing and expanding the space for civic participation is an indispensable prerequisite for a peaceful future of humanity. Without the active and unrestrained engagement of civil society around the globe, achieving the SDGs and with them the transition towards a just, equitable and sustainable world will not be possible.

The Centre is playing a crucial role in the fight for civic rights – such as with the development of the Civic Charter – and aims to build on our current projects and intensify our involvement in the fight for civic space.

Visit our Securing Civic Rights page.


Scanning the Horizon

Scanning the Horizon is a foresight platform for the international civil society sector. It aims to help CSOs prepare for disruption and reap the benefits of change, by bringing together futurists, strategists and trend analysts to build a community of experts and practitioners in strategic foresight.

Visit our Scanning the Horizon page.


Past Projects


Driving Change

In the project series Driving Change, a group of hand-picked individuals are brought together to engage in discussions on a specific issue of strategic importance to the civil society sector. The task of the group is to discuss possible solutions and develop recommendations to ICSOs on how to manage change and prepare for the future. The outcomes are widely spread through the Centre’s various channels and discussed at our high-level events.

Global Governance of ICSOs
In 2012, a group of experts developed a framework for best practice in the governance of international civil society organisations: Taking a Strategic Approach to Governance Reform in International Civil Society Organisations (ICSOs).

Riding the Wave
Clear signs are emerging that disruption has started affecting our sector, including– and possibly quite prominently – ICSOs. Riding the Wave in 2013 explored how ICSOs can better prepare for potential disruptions and position themselves to benefit, rather than suffer, from change.

New ICSO Business Models
Building on the findings of the Centre’s work in 2013 on disruptive change, the project in 2014 will explore necessary changes to existing ICSO business models and identify alternative models, which may complement or replace the existing ones.

Building an Organisational Culture for Change
Becoming better able to adapt to changes in the outside world and introducing new business models will not be possible without major changes in ICSOs’ organisational culture. This project aims to identify the main features of a more entrepreneurial, agile and adaptable organisational culture and design a path for ICSOs’ culture change.


Transition Alliances

Transition Alliances - A successful implementation of an ambitious Post-2015 Agenda and Climate Summit agreement can only be successful if governments, business and civil society organisations work together. However, multi-stakeholder partnerships to date have not always been successful - read more about this and findings on success factors in a study the Centre comissioned in cooperation with the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ): Building Blocks for Successful Partnerships.

To avoid failures of the past, we need to re-invent the concept and develop more ambitious, more credible and more impactful partnerships – we call them “Transition Alliances”. Read more about what this means and how the Centre aims to mobilise efforts for this here.


Post-2015 Development Agenda

Since 2010 the Centre has engaged in facilitating and streamlining the discussions on the Post-2015 Development Agenda which aims to shape a successor framework to the current Millennium Development Goals.