Scenario A: ELEVATED INTENTION
In this scenario, we worked to envision a strong, robust future where there will be deep, systemic, long-term responses to pressing social issues amidst expansive opportunities for innovative philanthropy leveraging strong incentives for collaboration and networks. The following graphic (produced by Ken Hubbell) and narrative description begin to tell a story of our images of possibility in this scenario.
Near universal access to technology enhances awareness, promulgates engagement, and “levels the playing field.” What’s been out of sight can’t be kept from coming in to sight. More people have access to more knowledge; consequently, change occurs more quickly. A widely enhanced consciousness—a broad psychological kinship—acts as a catalyst for change. Levels of institutional trust are high. Government is an equal partner with the public and private sectors, resulting in significant and lasting responses to a wide range of social issues. Boomers have largely passed the torch to Millennials, who have been groomed for leadership. Family continues to be redefined, reflected in extended “families of choice.” At a macro level, the great emerging promise will create a groundswell of hope. Considerably growing numbers of stakeholders are at the table and engaged in collective problem solving around social issues and collective impact is widely embraced.
As for philanthropy, it will be alive and well, but not in the traditional sense or forms of the rich giving to the poor. Shared accountability will increasingly become the norm. People will contribute—and be valued for contributing—what they can, where they can, and how they can in the form of time, money, expertise, volunteer time, etc. Expect to see less concentration of money and, potentially, the disappearance of currency as we know it. Power relationships shift in this scenario, resulting in more true and equal partners, producing far better and more lasting results. Band-Aid solutions and responses will still be necessary here, but they won’t be the majority expression of philanthropic spirit.
Well short of nirvana, some danger signs remain in this scenario. Disaffected groups will be found in hackers, gangs, cartels, and other exclusive communities. Those who are deeply resistant to change and/or who are the most disenfranchised will reap far fewer benefits from the collective improvements in this scenario.