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DSI Futures


Society today is facing challenges that are radically different from those we were facing just decades ago. From steady global population growth and resulting sustainability concerns, to climate change and its wide-reaching effects, to a rapidly ageing population and increasing healthcare demands across society, to democratic backsliding and refugee and migrant flows, the nature of social and environmental concerns is constantly shifting.

DSI4EU is working to support DSI initiatives tackling some of today’s most pressing social and environmental concerns. But we also realise how important it is to actively think about what the future holds, and about how we can shape that future. We believe that with a better understanding of what future social and environmental challenges and opportunities might look like, and of how digital technologies might evolve in the near future, we stand a better chance of achieving our more positive vision for the future.

We’ve launched our programme of work on DSI Futures in August 2018 with this goal in mind. The work is composed of two parts.


The first stream of the programme is led by betterplace lab. We are working on identifying some of today’s most cutting-edge technological trends within DSI and analysing how these trends might affect DSI in the coming decade. This analysis will be based on existing best practice cases, interviews with experts and data analysis. The analyses will also feed into a set of trend guides, which will help social purpose organisations to make the most of these emerging opportunities and help them respond to the changing technological landscape.


The second part of our work is carried out by Nesta. We are building a set of speculative, positive future scenarios detailing how our society might be using open and collaborative technologies to tackle social challenges in ten years’ time. Alongside this, we’re providing recommendations to policymakers, funders and other stakeholders on how to lay the path towards these positive futures. The research is exploring future scenarios related to five of our six DSI clusters: healthcare, skills and learning, democratic participation, migration and integration, and the environment. We’re aiming to engage and consult a wide range of experts, practitioners and policy-makers, through a series of interviews and workshops.


Our DSI Futures programme is ongoing and will go through until May 2019. If you would like to get involved or find out more about our it, please drop us an email at [email protected].




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