Future Calls Associations to Social Regeneration

Associations, like schools and educators, are an essential part of our civic infrastructure, and have much to gain from a shared outlook on important drivers of change shaping our future.

The 2018 KnowledgeWorks Future of Learning 5.0 Forecast, a research analysis by futurist colleagues Katherine Prince, Jason Swanson and Katie King, identifies five change drivers associations should have on their radar especially if they are using ASAE ForesightWorks to anticipate the future:

  • Automating Choices: Artificial intelligence and algorithms are automating many aspects of our lives. This change driver aligns well with the ASAE ForesightWorks technology change drivers of personalized artificial intelligence, anticipatory intelligence, fast data, and who owns the data.

  • Civic Superpowers: Engaged citizens and civic organizations are seeking to rebalance power. This change driver observes similar changes noted in the ASAE ForesightWorks change drivers algorithmic politics and shifting terrain for advocacy.

  • Accelerating Brains: People have increasing access to tools and insights that are reshaping our brains in intended and unintended ways. The ForesightWorks change drivers more human humans and automating work examine similar changes for adult association members.

  • Toxic Narratives: Outdated and misaligned systems and metrics of success are contributing to chronic health issues, including rising rates of mental illness among children. The ForesightWorks change driver, American inequality, raises similar societal concerns.

  • Remaking Geographies: Communities are working to remake themselves in the face of deep transitions.  ASAE ForesightWorks explores these transitions in stagnation economy and sharing economy. KnowledgeWorks localizes the consequences of these changes. Associations need to understand and support this differentiation.

KnowledgeWorks proposes some strategies that with some strategic repurposing will also position associations to shape the future for their members:

  • Promote human-centered learning. Associations too can consider how to personalize learning in ways that go beyond automated and generalized knowledge transfer to serve members with greater situational awareness and empathy.

  • Signature learning ecosystem. Associations are drawing upon related organizations and other resources to expand learning opportunities for their members. Thinking about this strategy as much more than establishing a resource or clearinghouse leads to more dynamic opportunities to advance any profession or industry.

  • Amplified voice and impact. Whatever impact an association wants to have, it can now tap into powerful social media and channels of communication to expedite and amplify member voices.

  • Institute safeguards for efficacy. Associations too need data management strategies that advance the organization’s objectives without harming members and other stakeholders.

The KnowledgeWorks futurists ask a good question of education leaders that associations should also answer: What is their role in social regeneration? The ASAE Power of A program encourages associations to think and act this way. ASAE ForesightWorks enables associations to help shape a preferred future. As we look ahead to 2019, associations may have no more important task than to take up this challenge to work for social regeneration.