Megatrends Project Update Q2 2011

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Megatrend Meta-Analysis









e inhabit an increasingly interconnected world, yet today’s policymakers and advisors view each issue in a vacuum, focusing primarily on the near-term impacts of their decisions. Efforts to improve this system and broaden the field of vision of our policymakers are critical today, and will be into the 21st century. The Bertelsmann Foundation, with the support of the Rockefeller Foundation, is currently conducting the Megatrends Meta-Analysis (MeMA), an innovative project exploring the intersections of large-scale trends in society from 2020 to 2100. The central goal of this project is to help policymakers, communities, and citizens understand how some of today’s most significant issues are likely to interact over the next century, and to encourage them to act on this information. MeMA will include a rich, detailed on-line platform for research and discussion, integrating content from the Bertelsmann Foundation’s Megatrends Meta-Analysis with trend-scouting “Searchlights” conducted by the Rockefeller Foundation.

Mumbai This past April, the Rockefeller Foundation gathered 34 of its Searchlight grantees from its 11 main centers, along with a cadre of collaborative partners from the US and Europe, in Mumbai, India for a five-day immersion event focused on the future of the global poor. This week -long engagement between the intellectual partners of the Searchlight project centered on the analysis of trends, the discussion of current research aims, and an exploration of the cultural, political, and social aspects of the global poor. Mumbai was the perfect setting for such an event. A vibrant urban landscape, Mumbai comprises one of the rising centers of population - so-called Megacities - in Southeast Asia. It faces a set of challenges that are both unique and shared among cities and city-states of similar size and rates of growth. This point was never more evident than during a halfday tour of the Dharavai slums, the largest UN-recognized slum development in

the world; comprising over 600,000 residents and major sources of industry and employment. Taking part in this event on behalf of the Bertelsmann Foundation, Andreas Esche and Jonathan Stevens were given the opportunity to present to the Searchlight team, the Rockefeller Foundation, and other US and European partners the current state and development trajectory of the Future Challenges Project and the Megatrend Meta-analysis. Because in the next stages of development the website will include content from and interaction with the Searchlight grantees, this was a terrific opportunity to meet and interact with content partners and scientists from around the world.

Rietberg Underlying the web platform are the efforts of individuals around the globe, both as advisors and

Update 2 \ April - June 2011

L-R: Craig Willy, Regional Editor Western Europe - Josh Grundleger, Deputy Regional Editor North America - Farhan Janjua, Regional Editor Middle East - Ole Wintermann, Bertelsmann Stiftung - Jacinta Escudos, Regional Editor Latin America - Sonam Ongmo, Regional Editor East Asia - Tom Fries, Bertelsmann Foundation North America - Ulrike Reinhardt, Web 2.0 Consultant and Blogger - Maartje Nevejan, Independent Filmmaker - Mario Sorgalla, Bertelsmann Stiftung - Cindy Mezas - Kevin “Blaxtar” de Randamie, Hip-hop Artist - Lourdes Gomez, Regional Editor Australia Mac-Jordan Degadjor, Regional Editor Africa - Henrik Scheller, Bertelsmann Stiftung. Not pictured: Alexey Sidorenko, Regional Editor Eastern Europe

Bertelsmann Foundation Megatrend Meta-Analysis

as contributors. The team in Gütersloh and in Washington is buttressed by individuals who contribute their time, ideas and experience, as well as those who focus on challenging our assumptions and pushing the group to our creative edge. Twice each year, the core team from Bertelsmann meets with the regional editors from our blogger network to discuss the workings of the website, changes in the editorial process, problems that need solving and opportunities we can take advantage of. This spring’s meeting took place in Rietberg, Germany, and assembled attendees from Germany, the UK, Ghana, Australia, El Salvador, the Netherlands, Pakistan, Russia, Bhutan, Belgium and the US. Though the

first day was an opportunity to “meet and greet” for new members of the team, we quickly got down to business. The upcoming relaunch of the website meant briefings and debates with the teams from Headshift and the Church of London, who are undertaking, respectively, the redesign of the website and the editing of many of our upcoming content packages. The team then fleshed out the nature of the content packages that will be the seeds of dialogue on, considering the many different resources we have available for lead articles (not only the Bertelsmann Foundation’s work, but reports from the Rockefeller Foundation’s Searchlight grantees and articles from the Kiel Institute for the Global Economy as well) and how to build compelling stories around those articles using open data,

audio files, links to blog posts, infographics, and all other available tools. We worked with the regional editors to understand what makes a blog post compelling, and worked with a hip-hop artist and a filmmaker from the Netherlands to learn how to interview and how to tell stories in multiple ways.

in the papers into images that explain and invite curiosity and interaction. See below Nigel’s first conceptual drawing, complete for the Demographics paper by Jack Goldstone.

Bonding over an outstanding dinner at a local “Bauernhof,” biking in the dark through the rain and tackling massive tree-top obstacle courses were some of the many opportunities to get to know one another better, and with representatives of the Rockefeller Foundation, the Kiel Institute for the Global Economy, Headshift and the Church of London in attendance as well, the team’s ability to work together closely is surely at a new high.

With great excitement, the team in Washington announced that three papers are ready for publication on, with three more to come shortly. In conjunction with a team of editors and graphic designers, each Megatrends paper is being prepared not only for publication as a standalone document but for segmentation to provide lead articles for future content packets. Our team of readers is combing through each paper for appropriate thematic chunks, opportunities to expand the value of the piece by linking to open data, and opportunities for Nigel Holmes to exercise his talents by creating visual conceptions of the complex interplay of these large-scale trends.

Infographics As part of the team’s continued efforts to turn these six scholarly papers into multimedia, webappropriate works that will be broadly accessible and entertaining, we have been working with Nigel Holmes, who has composed infographics for Esquire, Fortune, GQ, The New Yorker, the New York Times, Sports Illustrated, Time and Wired, among many others. For the Megatrends papers, Nigel is working on distilling the complex ideas contained

Megatrends papers

Update 2 \ April - June 2011

California Visualizing

gramming specialists in their Oakland, CA office, along with several key biometric scientists, to explain the thought process in creating visual maps and displays that were both information-dense and easy to read.

As the initial research and design stages of the Megatrend Meta-Analysis draw to a conclusion, the MeMA team has begun to focus on a key aspect of the project: the visualization of the qualitative and quantitative data gathered by the megatrend scientists. After meeting with a number of good artists on the East Coast, Jonathan Stevens tied a trip out West to attend a two-day meeting at the RAND Corporation on 21st Century Demographics with several brainstorming sessions with creative visual teams.

The Institute for the Future (IFTF) first caught the attention of the Bertelsmann Foundation in Mumbai, India at the Rockefeller Foundation meetings. Their focus on assembling visual patterns that offer insight into large-scale future trends – culture, politics, the environment, transportation, etc. – helps them draw together a range of technical and artistic disciplines to create trend maps for various public and private partners. Upon visiting their Palo Alto offices, Jonathan took part in a brainstorming session led by Executive Director Marina Gorbis and Forecast Director, Kathleen Vian. The use of video and platforms of interaction with the audience through online surveys and games were particularly interesting to the MeMA team.

The Bertelsmann Foundation has long been a fan of the visual impact and design skill of the Global Footprint Network. Executive Director Mathis Wackernagel and Director of Outreach Jennifer Mitchell graciously assembled teams of communication and pro-

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For further information on the Megatrends project, contact: Jonathan Stevens | Director, Global Futures Project | +1 202 384 1994 Tom Fries | Senior Project Manager, International Relations | +1 202 621 1720