Inspiration from elsewhere

Civic Action12 Dec 2011Ellen Lammers

Quite a lot of thinking, deliberating and visioning about the future of NGOs, INGOs and civil society is happening by different organizations and at different fora. Be inspired. And let us know if you know of any other work that should be listed here!

Cathy Shutt authored the IDS practice paper Changing the World by Changing Ourselves: Reflections from a Bunch of BINGOs (2009) which summarizes a series of conversations that took place among members of the IDS Participation, Power and Social Change team and staff from eight BINGOs. Participants agreed that there is considerable scope for many BINGOs to pursue a more progressive agenda.

The Global Business Network published a free e-book on scenario thinking for NGOs: What if? The art of scenario thinking for nonprofits.

Alex Evans authored a report to ActionAid as input to its 5-year international strategy 2012-2016. It is titled 2020 Development Futures and discusses eight critical uncertainties that will shape international cooperation in the next decade. With recommendations.

The Feinstein International Center of Tufts University and the Humanitarian Futures Programme of King’s College, London, jointly published a report about the emergence of a new humanitarianism: Humanitarian horizons: a practitioners’ guide to the future.

Burkhard Gnärig, executive director of the Berlin Civil Society Centre authored The Future of CSOs in early 2011, arguing that civil society organizations need to prepare for far-reaching change if they wish to retain their legitimacy and relevance.

Maeve Bateman and colleagues at Trocaire published a report titled Leading Edge 2020. Critical thinking on the future of international development, discussing global trends and the future of INGOs. With the support of IDS.

On the web platform of SmartCSOs, a lot of discussion is going on about how civil society organizations can work towards a more holistic and systemic transition to a sustainable society, instead of pursuing the narrow technical policy focus that dominates today’s strategies.

Medicins sans Frontières, just before its 40th anniversary, published book, Humanitarian negotiations revealed, which openly discusses the difficulties and controversies that humanitarian INGOs are confronted with today. It punctures a number of myths that place humanitarianism above politics.

Jean-Michel Severino and Oliver Ray of the Centre for Global Development in 2009 wrote The end of ODA. Death and rebirth of a global public policy, about three revolutions that the world of international development is undergoing.

Kent Glenzer, Oxfam America’s director of learning, evaluation and accountability, wrote the paper What if we’re no longer nongovernmental organizations. The opportunities ahead for international development NGOs.

Years back in 2004, the Feinstein Centre published a study meant to provide INGOs with a rudimentary framework for strategic planning in the light of the likely challenges and change awaiting them during the next decade: Ambiguity and change: humanitarian NGOs prepare for the future.

Also see the contributions to The Broker blog for the Bellagio Initiative, which was a series of global consultations that aimed to rethink the framework for philanthropy and development.

Not specifically about INGOs, but a more general outlook on the world in 2020 was republished on Common Dreams: The blowback effect. The world in 2020, by Michael Klare, professor of Peace and World Security Studies at Hampshire College in Amherst, Massachusetts.