Alexia Skok

8 December, 2015

Scanning the Horizon: Interview with David Thomson and Lars Gustavsson

Civil society organisations (CSOs) must be prepared with the tools they need to navigate transformative change as it arises – with this at the core of its agenda, the International Civil Society Centre launched Scanning the Horizon in December 2015.

This new project is bringing together a community of experts – futurists, strategists, and trend analyst – to build a base of knowledge that detects disruption early and helps organisations mitigate potential challenges.

On 3 – 4 December, Scanning the Horizon held an initial working group, which included David Thomson (Global Strategy Director, Plan International), and Lars Gustavsson (Futurist, World Vision International). These two changemakers discuss the project, potential future disruptions and the need for CSOs to constantly scan the horizon for upcoming trends.

Scanning the Horizon means being prepared for what’s coming by looking to the future. CSOs are constantly faced with disruptive changes that can affect how their support is delivered. Looking forward into 2016 and beyond, major disruptions include: human movement and shifting populations; the digitalisation of the aid sector; the Sustainable Development Goals; and an increased involvement of business in international development.


  1. ToscaBvV14 December, 2015

    A really worthwhile video, which I plan to share with colleagues. For me one of the critical questions is going to be: in view of these big trends we see on the horizon, are ICSOs able to improve their ability to work with as well as influence actors in global governance who are unlike them: private sector actors, politicians and (potentially politically appointed) senior pubic servants, social enterprises/B corporations, digital NGO platforms etc. Will we engage less in ‘othering others’ (Duncan Green, Oxfam) and will our organizational borders become more porous and more penetrable for unlike minded spirits?


    1. Rhianon Bader16 December, 2015

      Hi Tosca,
      You make a good point on the need to look at the “who” in terms of how ICSOs respond to the trends and disruptions in the future. Openness to more partnerships is a growing topic of discussion, and it seems it is necessary for both ICSOs and the other actors, such as corporations, to change the relationship dynamics that have existed until now.

      Thanks for the comment and we’re glad you enjoyed the video!

      Rhianon Bader
      Fundraising and Communications Manager
      International Civil Society Centre

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