What are the most pressing global challenges in the coming decade that we need to think about today in order to avoid surprises, mitigate risks, and make use of opportunities? In search of the answers, GGF fellows collaborate in developing new and better ways to think 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 communication and rigorous thinking. The fellows use a variety of strategic foresight instruments, including scenario planning and risk assessment, to constantly create a better understanding of future challenges. 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 exchange. Fellows are exposed to different national and professional viewpoints. They can safely challenge one another’s ideas while reflecting on their own assumptions, and they can learn about the strategic interests, options, and opportunities for policymaking for uncertain futures. The results reflect the shared understanding between nine countries and five world regions, while at the same time highlighting the divergences that global governance must overcome in order to jointly confront global challenges.

GGF fellows combine all their insights gathered from the first three GGF sessions into a final written product that is presented at the final session. The fellows also use the final session to engage experts, policymakers, and the broader public to discuss strategic options that will be resilient against deep uncertainties and current political realities. At the end of the program, GGF fellows are encouraged to turn the knowledge they have gathered over the course of their GGF experience into individual and/or collaborative products that provide recommendations to policymakers at the national and international levels.

Working Process

To better understand a wide range of global policy challenges of the future, GGF fellows divide into three working groups, each examining a particular topic. The fellows of the GGF 2030, the latest round of GGF, look ahead to the year 2030, focusing on the futures of global order, of global migration and refugees crises, and of the role of cities in global governance. The working process is structured in four parts and corresponds to the four GGF dialogue sessions that take place in five of the GGF participating countries held in 2018 and 2019. During each session, the fellows engage in intense discussions within their respective working groups, participate in workshops with experts, and conduct meetings and interviews with policymakers, academics, and private sector representatives.

Session 1 Washington, DC (May 13 - 17, 2018): Assumption Check

The fellows, before breaking off into their working groups, are given a thorough presentation on foresight methodologies and the different methodological steps they need to take throughout GGF 2030. Once in the working groups, the fellows exchange their understanding of the topic before they identify, assess, and discuss the assumptions that (implicitly) prevail in the working group. Together with invited experts and the senior fellows, the fellows will also identify blind spots in their thinking and look back on past blind spots related to their working group topic. This foresight component is designed to allow the fellows to learn about each other’s perspectives and systematically review mental models.

Session 2 New Delhi (September 9 - 13, 2018): Scenario Construction

The second component is designed to collectively explore potential future developments. The working groups identify a set of key factors that influence long-term developments in alternative directions. Based on that, they systematically create different, yet plausible, scenarios.

Session 3 São Paulo (January 20 - 24, 2019): Opportunities, Threats, and Policy Projects

In the third component, the working groups focus on the opportunities and threats emerging from their scenarios in order to deepen their understanding of the topic. The working groups take on various actor perspectives and utilize risk assessments to learn about strategic interests, and form policy projects that promote certain outcomes and thwart future threats.

Session 4 Paris and Berlin (May 19 - 24, 2019): Final Feedback and Outreach

At the end, each working group produces an essay that brings together all the insights gathered from the GGF sessions. The fellows then share and discuss their findings during closed-door meetings and in public presentations with policymakers and experts. The essay and other publications (including commentaries, interviews, and podcasts) are collected in a number of print and online publications for wider distribution.