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The opportunity for strategic foresight in philanthropy

Published Date: 24 September 2018

Download the full report here.  

The practice of strategic foresight has been a tool mainly used by corporations, enabling them to steady themselves for the future and protect business concerns against the turbulent modern world. To take these strategic foresight tools and methods into the context of funding might give philanthropy the opportunity to build capacity as a means of taking a more active - rather than reactive approach - to tackling the most pressing societal issues. The practice of strategic foresight also has the potential to provide foundations with a longer view on society’s issues, and a greater ability to change systems in more profound and sustainable ways.

This is why in August 2018, SIX brought together representatives from thirteen global foundations for a practice-based retreat on Wasan Island, Canada. Over two and a half days, the group discussed why and how strategic foresight could become a useful tool for foundations, and began to explore and experiment with some strategic foresight frameworks. This report captures the insights and learning from the retreat, and explores the practice of strategic foresight as one way in which foundations might consider their role in the future.

For more information on this retreat or to find out more about the SIX Funders Node, please contact