Chapter 10

A Way Forward:
Turning shared interests to new ways of Governing in the age of Emergence

A Way Forward is a beta version of our initial findings. It invites us to acknowledge that immediate responses to the current crisis will not be enough, that there is a compelling need to address the deep-rooted causes of the accelerating societal risks we face. It is essential that we scaffold the transitions to a different kind of a human contract with the world around us.

A Way Forward is an expedition into a new model of statecraft for the age of risk and uncertainty.  It is an invitation to acknowledge that we are operating in a new context of shared vulnerabilities, risks, and interests that require a transition to different models of societal and transnational innovations based on the new foundational compact between state and society.  

This paper seeks to go beyond mere analysis of the spectrum of problems and risks we face, identifying a portfolio of possibilities (POPs) and articulating a new framework for governance and government. The purpose of these POPs is not to define the future but to challenge, to innovate, to expand the range of politically acceptable policies, and to establish a foundation for the statecraft in the age of risk and uncertainties.  

As its name suggests, we recognise that the A Way Forward is and must be one of many pathways to explore the future of governance. It is the beginning of a journey; one on which you are invited to join us to help evolve the provocations into new paradigms and policy options that seek to chart an alternative pathway to governance and statecraft.

A Way Forward is a petition for seeding new transnational alliances based on shared interests and vulnerability. We believe the future will be built across a new constellation of governmental alliances, where innovation in statecraft and governance is achieved collaboratively. Our key objective is to establish a platform to host these transnational discussions, and move us towards the new capabilities that are necessary for statecraft in the age of risk and uncertainty.


Note of thanks: In preparing this piece, we were influenced by the Future of Development COVID-19 High Level Strategy Lab discussion featuring Achim Steiner, Acha Leke, Ifeyinwa Ugochukwu, Isabel de Saint Malo de Alvarado, Isobel Coleman, Juan Somavia, Mariana Mazzucato, Martin Jager, Ngaire Woods, Pavan Sukhdev, Tony O. Elumelu, and Tharman Shanmugaratnam.

We also are indebted to the work, advice, and support of Geoff Mulgan (UCL︎︎︎), Brenton Caffin (States of Change︎︎︎), Marco Steinberg (Snowcone & Haystack︎︎︎), Gabriella Gómez-Mont (Laboratorio para la Ciudad︎︎︎), Alberto Cottica (Edgeryders︎︎︎), Daniel Aldrich (Northeastern University︎︎︎), Dan Hill (Vinnova︎︎︎), Luca Gatti (Chora Foundation︎︎︎), Sandrine Dixon-Decleve (Club of Rome︎︎︎), Stephen Huddart (McConnell Foundation︎︎︎), Jayne Engle (McConnell Foundation︎︎︎), Martin Stewart-Weeks (Public Purpose︎︎︎), Dave Snowden (Cognitive Edge︎︎︎), Giulio Quaggiotto (UNDP︎︎︎), Alexandru Oprunenco (UNDP︎︎︎), Lejla Sadiku (UNDP︎︎︎), Narue Shiki (UNDP︎︎︎), Joseph d’Cruz (UNDP︎︎︎), Jonathan Lapalme (Dark Matter Labs︎︎︎), Chloe Treger (Dark Matter Labs︎︎︎), Konstantina Koulouri (Dark Matter Labs︎︎︎), Jack Minchella (Dark Matter Labs︎︎︎), Joost Beunderman (Dark Matter Labs︎︎︎), Aaron Gillett (Dark Matter Labs︎︎︎), Hyojeong Lee (Dark Matter Labs︎︎︎), and Richard Martin (︎︎︎).

UNDP is the UN’s development agency that works in 170 countries and territories, helping to achieve the eradication of poverty, and the reduction of inequalities and exclusion. We help nations develop policies, leadership skills, partnering abilities, institutional capabilities, and resilience.︎︎︎

Dark Matter Labs is focused on the great transitions our societies need to respond to technological revolution and climate breakdown. Our aim is to discover, design, and develop the institutional ‘dark matter’ that supports a more democratic, distributed, and sustainable future.︎︎︎

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