Future Forum 2023

Future Forum 2022 Key Visual

‘Building capacities for transforma(c)tion NOW – Agriculture & food, resources & circularity, energy & mobility’

This year's Future Forum was organized in close cooperation between the two departments 4D "Climate, Rural Development, Infrastructure" and 4E "Methods, Digital Transformation, Innovation" and took place on 26 and 27 September 2023 in Nauen, Brandenburg. 467 participants working in 67 different countries came together on-site and online to break out from their silos to learn from each other.


Please find the full conference report here:

PDF Report Future Forum

Please view some live recordings from the main stage here:

Keynote Vivienne Ming

(see conference report for details on her person and main messages)

Her keynote, enriched with anecdotes, celebrated the power, we as individuals have, to learn and adapt from bad experiences or from curiosity with creating solutions to the future.

Video Inspirational Keynote

Panel discussion

with Dirk Meyer, Arun Maira, Vivienne Ming, Promita Sengupta
(see conference report for details on panelists and main messages)

Working question:
From shared future visions to action: How can international cooperation respond to changing geopolitical constellations and effectively shape transformative change towards good life for all on a healthy planet?


Background for the conference

In the context of humanity’s multiple crises, GIZ can and must contribute to keeping a healthy earth for all, enabling good life within planetary possibilities. We can facilitate finding and investing in new desirable healthy ways of production and consumption. For partners and for us, that means doing things differently compared to recent patterns that drive the crises. Supporting larger scale and deep transformative societal change towards socially robust future visions is a new, but imperative quality and ambition level of change.

Content of the Future Forum

This year, we therefore put a lens on three interdependent dimensions of action:

  • energy, transport and mobility transformation,
  • the agricultural and food system transformation
  • as well as the resource and circularity transformation.

Transforming these systems in integrated ways and beyond silos will support a ‘great’ social, ecological and economic transformation towards climate neutral societies and resilient life on an ‘earth for all’. Along with the evident action fields like energy, agriculture etc., all perspectives from ‘green’ workstreams (climate, environment, water, biodiversity, ...), to economic, social and governance arenas were important for this and invited.


Additional information


Global acceptance of the need for transformative change for livable Futures varies a lot. But transformative ambitions will further increase and with it the question of visions of a future that looks very different from our present. To facilitate socially empowered desirable visions of the future is one of the most challenging parts in the beginning and alongside transformation processes.

Much of the reality today was perceived to be unrealistic 50 years ago. To imagine and shape a future that we want, we are hence allowed to be unrealistic and wishful from our recent perspective. Transformations need utopian thinking. This visioning session shall allow us wishful thinking in its best sense.

Working questions: 

  • If a livable future is possible with the help of big transformations, what might it look like? How can we imagine a future in 2050 and beyond? What kind of world should our grand- and grand-grand-children live in?
  • How can we develop ideas of such very different futures and stand for the values they emphasize without prescribing local solutions? How can we thus facilitate such questions in partner contexts (methodological question)?

Breakout sessions along transformation fields:

  • Agricultural and food system transformation vision
  • Resource and circularity transformation vision
  • Energy and mobility transformation vision
  • Together towards a great social, ecological and economic transformation vision


The visioning sessions were prepared and facilitated with the help of BRINK.

Helpful documents for further use:

  • The preparation process (PPTX)
  • Guides for facilitating the sessions (DOCX, in-person, online)
  • Introductory film (mp4)
  • Workshop slides (PPTX)
  • Vision compass (PDF, JPG)
  • Postcards from the future (PDF, DOCX with additional links and context)

See the full conference report for the results.

Additional information

Breakout: Levers for Transforma(c)tion

Looking back from the future, it’s important to further create confidence that we can contribute to such livable futures. This part of the conference hence was about assessing various promising levers for advancing social, ecological and economic transformations, be it political, economic or social instruments.

Working questions:

  • What are levers and entry points for such transformations (like policy, economic instruments & finance, technology, social change…)?
  • What can we learn from examples for design and practice of our work?

The session teams were encouraged to design co-creative sessions and provided with collections of facilitation methods, in-person facilitation material (pinboards, cards, pens…) and with conceptboard (whiteboard) templates and instructions for their online parts. The teams were free to tailor session designs to their needs.

Parallel session working titles:

See the full conference report for the results.

Additional information


We urgently need more ideas and learning for facilitating rising ambitions and action in such transformation fields. Methodological competences are the bridge towards action. However, they can hardly be acquired in theory. We need to practice and experiment with methods to learn and further develop them. The Future Forum was an opportunity to bring ‘sectoral’ knowledge and methodological competences closer together.

Working questions:

  • Which methods help us to facilitate such fundamental societal changes?
  • How to advance them?

Parallel session working titles:

See the full conference report for the results.

Additional information

Breakout: Transformative Modes of Working and Capacities

Such transformative ambitions and methods will hardly lead to lasting impacts, if we do not change the way we approach these very complex and ‘wicked problems’. The Future Forum was an opportunity to bring together practitioners and showcase successful real-life approaches of new modes of working. We could jointly explore where we stand with ‘transforming our work’ and advance ideas for taking it further.

Working questions:

  • Which modes of working (e.g. integrated, flexible, beyond projects…) enable us to support such large transformations?
  • What are existing examples to learn from?
  • What do we still need to develop (transform?) for the way we work?

Parallel session working titles:

See the full conference report for the results.

Additional information

Follow-up with Future Trails

Future Trails

is a curriculum for transformation makers that grew out from a GIZ initiative and is now used outside and internally in GIZ. It builds on a learn & act approach. Participants learn about future skills, helpful approaches and attitudes, powerful strategies and tangible practices. It builds on the Future Trails Transformation Compass with the following four quadrants:

*Society -  Shaping social change,

*Self - Develop yourself further,

*Team - Develop a new culture of working together in teams,

*Organisation - Have a meaningful impact in organizations and networks.

Future Trails helps participants to find answers to the following questions: What does it really take to bring forward transformation? What are effective levers for social change? How can I orientate myself in turbulent times?

In Future Trails, they explore, navigate and move forward on your own future paths, strengthened and with new motivation, fresh ideas and supporters.

It comes with a new set of methods, exercises compiled in a handbook and a detailed training curriculum to design the learning process.

If you would like to get into contact with the authors and trainers Katrin or Alexander, please contact them here: katrin.muench@giz.dekontakt@alexanderfroede.de.

Good wishes for your future trails!

Additional information

Follow-up with TransformAbilites

TransformAbilites are an emerging set of transformative design principles, approaches and empowering methods for jointly developing transformative ambitions, visions and action.

Please find more information here:

Please contact Daniel Kehrer (daniel.kehrer@giz.de) for more information, support or collaboration.

Let our transformAbilites evolve!

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