The GGF Method

What are the options for global governance in the coming decade and beyond that address the most pressing global challenges of the future? In search of answers, GGF fellows collaborate on developing new and innovative ways of thinking about a future that they themselves will help to shape.

The GGF method supports the fellows in this ambitious task by providing an intellectually challenging framework that enables structured and rigorous thinking. Drawing on the field of future studies, the fellows use instruments such as trend analysis and scenario planning to create tangible responses to critical questions of governance.

GGF fellows combine their insights on possible future developments with their distinct normative convictions about the shape and role of global governance. The GGF method provides a platform for intercultural communication: fellows can safely challenge each other’s ideas, pursue innovative thinking, and create a set of alternative developments and options for preparing global governance for uncertain futures. The results reflect the common ground between the five countries and three world regions, while at the same time highlighting the divergences that global governance must overcome in order to jointly confront global challenges.

The fellows do not stop at merely creating possible futures. Using their scenarios as a blueprint, the fellows turn to the even more ambitious task of designing strategic options that will be resilient against deep uncertainties and current political realities. To this end, they must design strategies for winning support and forging alliances at the national and international levels.

Working Process

To address a wide range of specific policy challenges of the future, GGF fellows divide into three working groups, each closely examining a particular topic. The GGF 2027 working groups looked ahead at the year 2027, focusing on data governance, global health and transnational terrorism.

The working process is structured in four phases and corresponds to the four GGF dialogue sessions in the five participating countries that were held from 2016 to 2017. During each session, the fellows engaged in intense discussions, participated in workshops with experts and conducted meetings and interviews with policymakers, academics and private sector representatives.

The working process during each of the four sessions is explained below.

Session 1 – Research

Fellows are given a thorough presentation on the scenario planning methodology before breaking off into working groups. There, the fellows identify factors that influence the future developments of their policy areas, select a set of key factors and explore and analyze different projections of these factors.

Session 2 – Scenario Construction

The working groups construct hypothetical future scenarios of their policy areas and conduct a cross-impact analysis to assess the links between key factors. Based on the results of this analysis, and with the help of a computer program, the fellows transform abstract scenario frameworks into full-fledged pictures and histories of the future for their policy areas.

Session 3 – Consequences and Implications

The working groups assess opportunities and threats derived from the different scenarios they have created. Moreover, they develop strategic options for avoiding the worst conceivable outcomes, with the recognition that the strategic resources of international organizations, NGOs, governments and multinational companies are limited.

Session 4 – Final Feedback and Outreach

At the end, each working group produces a report. The fellows then share their findings and discuss the implications of their scenarios in a number of public presentations with policymakers and experts. The reports and other publications (including op-eds and articles) are collected in a number of print and online publications for wider distribution.