Ross Dawson of the Future Exploration Network has published a very interesting trends map for 2009. The map integrates a variety of important issues for humanitarian strategists in a nice visual format.
First tier issues from different parts of the map include:
- Too much information
- Search for social control
- Debt stress
- Web 2.0
- Slowdown in growth
- Rising protectionism
It’s fun (and scary) to play mix and match with some of the concepts on here. Of particular relevance for HFP are the identification of some key global risks with severe humanitarian consequences. These include food shortages, mass migration, critical infrastructure attacks, and an influenza pandemic.
The question always remains how to best convert this knowledge into actionable strategy. We recommend the joint HFP / Feinstein International Famine Center Tufts University report on Ambiguity and Change: humanitarian NGOs prepare for the future for a discussion of these issues in the humanitarian context. The report concludes that humanitarian strategists of the future will be more local in context (although “local” may refer more to trans-spatial affinity groups in addition to geographic scale), more connected and technologically leveraged, and far more savvy with data analysis, forecasting, mapping, and communication tools.
From the HFP / Tufts report:
Coordination will be less determined by conventional institutional structures than upon information protocols that may form coordination through ad hoc networks of information and subsequent agreement on actions. Those in emergency response will most likely be less inclined to work through the repertoires and standard operating procedures of conventional organizations and more inclined to utilize ad hoc associations and shifting networks. They will feel comfortable with sophisticated technologies and adept at training others – including “locals.”
All of this points to the kind of flexible, dynamic, hyper-connected organizational model found in other sectors. How current organisations can adapt to this model is a question still to be answered, as is how such organizations will far in light of some of the trends suggested in the map below.
Click here or on the image below for a PDF of the map.