Scanning the Horizon

Scanning the Horizon

Analysing trends, spotting disruption and amplifying ICSO potential

New: Launch of our first report "Exploring the Future"

"Exploring the Future" summarises the findings from discussions in the Scanning the Horizon community in 2016, including at the Annual Meeting and in working groups. Many thanks to all who contributed to it!


Scanning the Horizon, a collaborative foresight platform for the civil society sector

Scanning the Horizon is a foresight platform for the international civil society sector. Changes today are faster and more impactful, holding significant potential for disruption for civil society organisations – from climate change to rising inequality and the digital revolution. Scanning the Horizon aims to help civil society organisations 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.

Launched in late 2015 with financial support by The Rockefeller Foundation, the platform answers the need for collaboration on trends analysis in the international civil society sector. Its membership currently comprises of 25 members, including many of the sector’s leading organisations, as well as CSO networks, multilateral organisations and corporations.

As a collaborative platform, Scanning the Horizon offers members a space to share their insights, jointly explore trends significant to CSOs, and develop strategies to address them. In addition, it offers opportunities of mutual learning and the pooling of resources to reduce individual organisations’ costs in futures-related work.

Scanning the Horizon is open to new members from all sectors who are engaged in horizon scanning and trends analysis. The results developed by this group are free for use by the wider CSO community in their own strategy development and planning processes.


Activities 2016

2016 is our first year of collaboration, following a kick-off in late 2015. In May, a first Annual Meeting of Futurists convened platform members in Bellagio, Italy, for three days of concentrated discussions around trends, impacts and response options. The meeting also served to agree on fundamental principles for the collaboration, as well as next steps. Working groups continued the work on specific trends or areas of collaboration throughout the year.

In autumn, a webinar series is taking place with external speakers from the World Economic Forum, experienced consultants and former CSO leaders on topics selected by members, including “Future Funding of ICSOs” , “The Fourth Industrial Revolution”, and “The Role of Non-State Actors in future Global Governance”.

A peer-exchange on scanning approaches is proving very valuable and insightful. Among this year's highlights were presentations at the Annual Meeting and a couple of internal reviews based on questionnaires, and the exchange will continue as an ongoing work stream.

A series of expert contributions on the Centre’s “Disrupt&Innovate” blog highlighted opinions and experiences on what horizon scanning can deliver for international civil society. The blog month included pieces by Burkhard Gnaerig (ICSC), Lars Gustavsson (Futurist, author and speaker), Robin Bourgeois (CIRAD/University of Pretoria), Sarah Ralston (Care International), and a closing piece by the platform coordinator.


Contact us

If you are interested in learning more, please contact the platform coordinator Marianne Henkel (





Rockefeller Foundation New