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Co-designing a just and green vision for 2030 with the voluntary sector in Wales

WCVA

A publicly launched ‘Voluntary Sector Futures’ report sets the scene for WCVA’s (Wales Council for Voluntary Action) national 5-year strategy which intends to support voluntary organisations across Wales to make a bigger difference together. Findings and outputs from the extensive participatory foresight process we facilitated are being used as their ‘North Star’ to guide next steps.

The challenge

WCVA wanted to look at how voluntary organisations in Wales can help shape a better future through the COVID-19 recovery, alongside an examination of how the sector can build its resilience, adapt and thrive in the future. They partnered with Futurice to draw on our expertise in future foresight and working methods, encapsulated in our Lean Futures Creation Toolkit (LFC).

The findings from this exercise form part of WCVA’s 2021 strategic review and planning for the next five years. The report has been shaped to support strategic thinking within the Third Sector Support Wales (TSSW) partnership and the wider voluntary sector, as well as the public and private sector.

In today's upheavals, much of our energy must be focused on the here and now, but we must also take time to imagine the futures we want to see. And not just to grapple with what’s likely or possible, but to create positive visions and plan how we can get there together.
Anna Nicholl
Head of Strategy and Sector Development at WCVA, project team member
The attentive space for listening created by Futurice was one of the strengths of the process and an opportunity for all participants to ‘refresh and reset’. The report is a valuable conversation starter and compass for green and just recovery. Our work with Futurice has set us on a path to revitalise our strategic goals for the next five year period.
Suzanne Iuppa
Strategic Planning Officer, WCVA (Wales Council for Voluntary Action)

What we did

More than 80 members of the voluntary, public and private sector, Welsh Government and Future Generations Commissioner for Wales contributed to the co-design of a preferred future vision for 2030. Participants articulated imaginings for the future that were fundamentally different from society today. There was alignment around an aspiration for Wales to become a more just, green, resilient, caring, wellbeing- and community-oriented society, where volunteering and active citizenship is central and valued.

In order to achieve this one united vision, the project combined approaches from service design, co-design and future foresight. The WCVA & SOIF (School of International Futures) Building Better Futures Toolkit was adapted and enhanced with the Lean Futures Creation (LFC) toolkit and methods by the Futurice team. Together with WCVA, we facilitated a series of horizon-scanning research sessions alongside collaborative exercises with voluntary sector participants. Surveys, in-depth interviews, participatory workshops and presentations were some of the methods used to ensure diverse points of view in the process, generation of ideas, design and feedback on outputs.

The Futures Exercise gave us the time and space to accept there are challenges for us all to overcome that go beyond funding cycles that are often so short term they can’t be used to tackle a longer-term vision.
John Gallanders
Chief Officer at AVOW (Association of Voluntary Organisations in Wrexham) and TSSW Representative

Impact

The 2030 vision provides one cohesive North Star for the voluntary sector and others to orient towards. It can drive ideas and action for the voluntary sector and its partners: participatory workshops helped articulate how to work together to make the vision become reality.

Other key project outputs and impacts:

Highly compelling, visualised research insight and outcomes are being disseminated and used across Wales via a public report in English and Welsh.

‘Seeds of Change’ (snapshots of the preferred future based on what’s happening today) act as a catalogue of open source ideas for practical system change which can be utilised as discussion tools and conversation starters.

Participants from 80+ organisations contributed throughout the project. Connections and networks formed through project research and participation are being developed into partnerships that can take components of the vision forward through action

Highly innovative, participatory foresight tools and methods were designed and iterated by Futurice during the process, enhancing this new field as well as the work of futurice and WCVA

WCVA will use this report to inform and educate politicians and officials at all levels within the Senedd Cymru and Welsh Government, and has already been shared with the Future Generations Commissioner, Ministers and many other partners.

Other beneficiaries who will receive the public report and project outcomes include:

The entire voluntary sector in Wales (membership of WCVA and Third Sector Support Wales)

Local Authorities, Health Boards and Public Service Boards in Wales

Regional Partnership Boards

UK Government

UN Global Guardians for Future Generations group

Why it matters

The pandemic has been and continues to be an incredibly challenging period, especially for those who have been disproportionately affected. Effort, collaboration and support from across society will be needed to achieve both recovery and a better future. We need to respond to the urgent crises of today with a view to creating long term benefits for current and future generations.

We used our Lean Futures Creation toolkit to help the Wales Council for Voluntary Action (WCVA) to create a future vision report. The report captures the inspiring 10-year vision for a more green, just, caring and community-oriented Wales in 2030. It was co-designed with the support of the Third Sector Support Wales (TSSW), the Future Generations Commissioner and the Welsh government, as well as over 80 participants from the public, private and voluntary sector across the country. It also documents the extensive participatory process and outcomes of this highly innovative, future foresight partnership.

You can access the project report now in English and Welsh:

View and/or download the English Voluntary Sector Futures Report by WCVA and Futurice by clicking here

View and/or download the Welsh Voluntary Sector Futures Report by WCVA and Futurice by clicking here

Voluntary sector organisations and the actions of local communities across Wales have an essential role to play in ensuring the well-being of generations still to come. This report sets out an engaging vision of a future where cohesive communities, volunteering and social activism are at the heart of making sure we are leaving the world a better place than we found it.
Sophie Howe
Wellbeing of Future Generations Commissioner

Interested in taking this approach in your own organisation? Combining service design, strategic and futures thinking, our experts can support you to apply the Lean Futures Creation toolkit within any organisation. Enabling teams to better understand macro and sector specific trends and how their industry might change as a result. We can then work with you to explore what the future might look like for your organisation and how it can respond. We are experienced at co-creating future visions then translating them into strategic roadmaps and feasible next steps for the short-term, so you know exactly what to do next.

About WCVA

WCVA (Wales Council for Voluntary Action): The national membership body for voluntary organisations in Wales. WCVA exists to enable voluntary organisations to make a bigger difference together.

We’d like to thank the key project partners who contributed and made this amazing project possible; TSSW (Third Sector Support Wales), the Future Generations Commissioner for Wales and the Welsh Government.

TSSW (Third Sector Support Wales): A network of support organisations for the whole of the third sector in Wales. It consists of the 19 local and regional support bodies across Wales, the County Voluntary Councils (CVCs) and the national support body, Wales Council for Voluntary Action (WCVA).

The Future Generations Commissioner for Wales: The Commissioner’s role is to be the guardian of future generations. This means helping public bodies and those who make policy in Wales to think about the long-term impact their decisions have.

Welsh Government: This includes Welsh Government public bodies, advisory groups and companies.

Want to know more about this?

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Eloise Smith-Foster, Senior Service Designer

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