IFTF + You
About the Lab
The Governance Futures Lab brings social inventors and futures thinking to the challenge of designing better systems of governance.
Today’s governments are, for the most part, incapable of dealing effectively and justly with the complex global challenges of the 21st Century. Governance failures will not only cause suffering for today’s citizens, but will ripple through time, constraining the future for generations to come. Revolutions have recently ruptured decades-old systems of government in the Arab world, and widespread dissatisfaction is growing in the United States and Europe.
If government as we’ve known it isn’t working, what fair, modern, and viable models will we have to rely upon to re-constitute society? The answer to this question may not be discovered—it may have to be invented.
The mission of the Governance Futures Lab is to reimagine and experiment with the basic architectures and processes of governance. We believe it is necessary to experiment with new systems and new rules to govern life on our planet. We have powerful tools to connect, organize and coordinate human behavior. We also have unprecedented amounts of knowledge about how the world works and humanity’s role in its own future.
We are now seeing the beginning of a broad global desire to rethink the relationship between people and their governments. Through a range of public activities and initiatives, the Governance Futures Lab aims to facilitate the definition and invention of new governance systems appropriate for an age of planetary challenges and human responsibility.
The Governance Futures Lab, as part of the Institute for the Future, will utilize its deep expertise in:
- Rigorous foresight methods to explore the widest range of future possibilities
- Participatory systems to harness the wisdom and insight of the crowd
- Innovative media and visualization tools to make alternative futures tangible and actionable.
On April 26-27, 2013, the Governance Futures Lab hosted the ReConstitutional Convention, convening a community of social inventors and innovators passionate in designing and creating new governance systems. Our toolkit is now available online, as well as the lightning talks from the event. You can also view the frameworks and prototypes developed during the convention at:
- Millenial Trains Project—August 8-17, 2013
IFTF research affiliate Lindsea K. Wilbur joined the Millenial Trains Project to take our Governance Futures Lab’s Social Inventors Toolkit across the United States.
- Hack for Change—June 1-2, 2013
National Day of Civic Hacking took place June 1-2 in cities across the United States. The event provided citizens an opportunity to do what is most quintessentially American: roll up our sleeves, get involved, and work together to improve our society (visit hackforchange.org to learn more).
- Connected Citizens—January 2013
What if we could reprogram our government together in just 24 hours? On January 22-23, over 500 players from 52 countries contributed more than 6,700 microforecasts in Connected Citizens, a one-of-a-kind, 24-hour collaborative forecasting game produced by the Institute for the Future (IFTF).
- CivicMeet—December 2012
IFTF and the Governance Futures Lab partnered with the City of Palo Alto for a CivicMeet on December 13, 2012, to challenge citizens to innovate the civic experience in the heart of Silicon Valley. Upwards of 70 participants joined city staff, IFTF researchers, and interested citizens to think more strategically about the challenges of innovating civic life in the local community.