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The Futures Project’s Global Open Call to Action for “Innovators for the Future"

Call closes: 15 July 2020


The Futures Project is a global initiative to envision and create our futures with life-centred innovation. Building on the UN 2030 Agenda, we want to change the discourse about our futures by making it pluralistic, informed and action-oriented. We connect thinkers and doers globally across sectors, disciplines and generations to identify the most pressing challenges of tomorrow and help create future-oriented specific solutions. We catalyse innovation by bringing together integrated thinking, targeted approaches, talent and funding.



As the world lives through a crisis unprecedented in recent history, we launch our first Global Open Call to Action for Innovators for the Future. The COVID-19 crisis exposes the vulnerabilities of our connected societies, our economies, our ways of life. Rarely has even the near future been less certain. Even though pandemics have been part of human history throughout the centuries, we realise that we are not prepared. And it shows more than ever the need for collective action, shared knowledge, solidarity and creativity.


Thinking about the future and preparing for it has always been important. This is what The Futures Project is all about. Now, it has become indispensable for all of us. We have to address the urgencies of the future - and we have to do it now.


We solicit your help to turn this severe global challenge into an opportunity - an opportunity to address the urgencies of the moment and the problems of our futures. We want to identify innovations that help communities in this time of enormous need and beyond and that help us find new ways to meet our challenges. This work is urgent. And, it is urgently needed. We need to tap creative and impactful ideas to pave the way to our futures. For this, we need your contributions.


With our global network of partners, we ask you to join this Call for Action. Help us to identify innovative projects and initiatives that are making positive and substantial impacts on communities and their futures, by addressing the urgency of the moment and staying committed to the future.


What to focus on:


Submitted projects should target one or more of The Futures Project's focus areas:


  • Empowerment (e.g. education, equality, future of work, financial services)


Solutions that ingeniously enfranchise the marginalised, bridge gaps, ensure continuity of learning and work in times of disruption, raise awareness, provide universal access to solutions and safeguard futures of communities.


  • Life (e.g. health, protection of biodiversity, food, energy, sustainable cities)


Current projects that consciously inform, sustain and protect life on our planet, ideas that support responsible management of natural resources, means to aid the well-being of individuals and communities alike, solutions in times of crises that are conscious of future impacts, movements that propagate sustainable solutions.


  • Society (e.g. governance, social cohesion, peace).


Mechanisms that bring people together, agile networks to mobilise collective action, critical assessments of interventions, means to foster solidarity in times of crisis, ways to mitigate conflicts.



Eligibilities


We seek to identify projects that help communities, building on our motto: innovation is the future delivered. You can nominate an initiative you know of, or self-nominate a project you're affiliated with. We are especially interested in learning about work that may have gone unrecognized on the global stage, whether these initiatives are very recent or more established, provided they are relevant for today and the future.


These are the qualities that we look for in our innovators and their projects:


Future-oriented & optimistic: Believing in our capacity to inspire positive change and build a better world and a better future for all.


Unorthodox & passionate: Bold ideas that show ingenuity, passion and dedication and that move beyond traditional definitions, concerns and binaries.


Sustainable & responsible: Ideas that use resources with care and do not come at the cost of the well-being of others.


Specific & impact-driven: Projects that target clear needs of communities and their environment. Ideas that are meaningful to people.


Our selection process will include several stages of evaluation. Ultimately, we will choose those ideas that have the imminent power and potential to address the challenges of the time and change our futures for the better. Our international jury consists of outstanding individuals from academia, business, politics, arts and civil society. They will be assisted by a global team of volunteers.



What's offered?


Top 75

The Call for Innovators will select the top 75 inspiring and impactful projects and recognize them in as part of the UN75 Global Conversation project. These projects will be portrayed online in a digital yearbook as recognition of the Innovators’ work. Their work will be shared through The Futures Project’s network.


Top 15

Of these 75 projects, 15 semi-finalists will additionally have their projects reviewed by and receive feedback from our Jury of Leaders, comprised of CEOs, NGO directors, political leaders, impact fund managers, foundation executives, and leaders from other fields. Participants will receive feedback from this jury of leaders and training and practical support on pitch preparation. They will be invited to pitch their projects in front of a jury of high-level leaders, funders, investors, and supporters at The Futures Project’s Flagship Conference in Munich in December 2020.


Top 5

The Futures Project will select up to 5 winning projects to participate in our highly-customised Social Impact Accelerator in Spring 2021. This four-month experience will include one-on-one mentoring with experts and industry leaders, interaction with our global network, and an intensive 5-7 days, in-person training week in Berlin. While the Accelerator programme will last for 4 months, participants will receive individualised mentorship for a full year. Participants will regularly learn from and work with our broad range of renowned partners from around the world, including business leaders, foundations, NGOs, and media partners. Through participation in this programme, Innovators will receive practical training and opportunities for collaboration that will launch their projects into the next phases of impact for the future.


How it works


Step 1

Registration and expression of interest

Register with us and fill out the pre-application form


The pre-application form acts as an eligibility check. We will accept expression of interest forms up to July 3rd and will inform you about selection or rejection as we screen the applications.



Step 2

Full Application Form

Call ends July 15th,2020


Fill out the full application form by July 15th



Step 3

Screening

Starts June 15th, 2020


Applications will be screened on a rolling basis based on a check for plagiarism and values-alignment with The Futures Project by TFP team.



Step 4

Expert Evaluation

Starts August 4, 2020


Each application will be reviewed by a panel of 3-6 experts from academia, business, politics, arts and civil society. To the extent possible, applications will be reviewed by Expert Reviewers with knowledge or experience in the same domain as the applicant’s project. The selected top 75 inspiring and impactful projects will be recognized as part of the UN75 Global Conversation project. These projects will be portrayed online in a digital yearbook and shared widely through the Futures Project’s networks.



Step 5

Jury Review

Starts September 15, 2020


Our international Jury of Leaders, comprised of CEOs, NGO directors, political leaders, impact fund managers, foundation executives, and leaders from other fields will select the top 15 projects based on understanding of the problem, solution and the team behind the projects. Participants will receive feedback from this jury of leaders and training and practical support on pitch preparation.



Step 6

Munich Conference

Dec 7 and 8, 2020, Munich


The top 15 will pitch their projects in front of a jury of high-level leaders, funders, investors, and supporters at The Futures Project’s Flagship Conference in Munich in December 2020. The process of selection of the top 5 will include personal interviews, group sessions and a pitch presentation.



Accelerator Programme

Spring 2021


The Futures Project will select 5 winning projects to participate in our highly-customised Social Impact Accelerator in Spring 2021. This four-month experience will include one-on-one mentoring with experts and industry leaders, interaction with our global network, and an intensive 5-7 day, in-person training week in Berlin. Though the Accelerator programme will last for 4 months, participants will receive individualised mentorship for a full year. Participants will regularly learn from and work with a broad range of renowned partners from around the world.


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