About

Future Labs designs, tests, and partners to scale initiatives related to peacebuilding and international development. We help communities see problems in new ways and solve them collectively by incorporating stakeholder input, empirical research, and thorough evaluation at all stages of the initiative development process.

 

peace building initiative

peace building

 

Law of the sea

Good project development requires time and attention to truly understand the context, stakeholders, and issues in ways that are fundamentally different from the current landscape of peacebuilding and international development. Future Labs is not afraid to ask whether or not something works, nor are we afraid to answer that question honestly and adapt accordingly.

Future Labs utilizes a deliberate, iterative process to create peacebuilding and development initiatives which achieve measurable results.

 

Future Labs approaches armed conflict, peace, and development issues through the lens of complex systems. Many of the world’s problems cannot be reduced to simple chains of cause and effect, as systems can have properties that are not present in individual factors.

Complex systems are resistant to the kind of linear planning and short timetables seen in many peacebuilding and international development programs. Sustainable change requires the kind of iterative, systems-level approach used by Future Labs and its partners.

peacekeepers international womens day

 

Creating models for peace

Future Labs designs and tests scalable models so they can be used by larger, more traditional institutions. Future Labs works with communities to articulate and prove these models, lowering the level of risk over time and providing funders and partners with solutions that are ready to scale.

 

Issue Areas

Peace Accord Implementation

Strategic and inclusive collaboration across all sectors of Colombia’s diverse population is key to sustained peace after decades of civil war, which led Future Labs to develop and launch PASO Colombia in 2016. PASO develops strategic and inclusive collaboration systems to provide economic opportunities for rural communities that have been affected by armed conflict in Colombia. The program’s success is largely based on its human-centered grassroots networking, which can be seen through PASO’s Rural Alternative Schools (ERAs), which are productive and educational collaborative platforms where private, public, and community resources are used to promote sustainable rural development. PASO has created a total of 2,350 jobs through Collaborative Commercial Partnerships (CCPs), which connect local producers with domestic and international markets, and investors such as Illy Caffe. These partnership networks reduce investment risk, ensure fair selling prices, strengthen technical knowledge, develop social and business culture, and strengthen governance for territorial peace.

nuclear reduction

In collaboration with governments, international organizations, NGOs, universities, and private industry, Future Labs developed plans to reduce the risks associated with nuclear weapons through innovation, inclusion, and dialogue supported by open-source data. In 2019, the Open Nuclear Network (ONN) was established in Vienna, Austria with the mission to reduce the risk of use of nuclear weapons in response to error, uncertainty, or misdirection, especially in escalating conflict contexts. To fulfill that mission, ONN’s analysts produce operational insights using open source data through its specially developed software platform, Datayo, a state-of-the-art online tool that finds public and commercial data, fuses it, and translates it into a usable form for everyone.

mediation

In partnership with William Ury of the Harvard Negotiation Project, Future Labs developed plans for the eXperimental Negotiation Initiative (xNI) which supports Track 1.5 diplomacy efforts in numerous conflict contexts, such as North Korea and Venezuela. The initiative focuses on identifying what conditions would make negotiation possible by identifying areas for mutual gain, improving communication channels for reducing the risk of violent conflict, and the potential role for third parties (informal and official) in facilitating a resolution.

In an effort to contribute to a more inclusive and sustainable housing sector in Somalia, Future Labs is developing a program in partnership with local banks to increase the availability and accessibility of home finance products to Somali borrowers. Facilitated by One Earth Future, program-related investments (PRIs) and other outside capital will be used to finance the mortgage lending activities of partner banks acting as an agent to manage loans through their lifecycle. In addition to providing capital through co-investing with Somali banks in mortgage products, the initiative will also seek to support and reinforce critical enabling conditions such as enhanced regulatory frameworks and more reliable systems of property rights, valuations, and titling. Future Labs expects to finalize negotiations and launch the program in late 2020.

Somali Solar Initiative

Using knowledge of the Somali energy sector and its extensive network of government, private sector, and international stakeholders, Future Labs is pursuing a solar mini grid project focused on meeting the energy needs of rural and peri-urban Somali communities. will capitalize on the growing awareness and demand for solar energy in the Somali region by partnering with local and international stakeholders in order to increase access to and reduce the high cost of electricity. Current planning activities incorporate community-based models and are focused on identifying locations where energy investment has the greatest potential for boosting economic activity. Alongside ongoing market research and partnership building within the sector, Future Labs plans to continue project development through 2020, with an expected project launch in 2021.

Stategic Advising

Future Labs is exploring opportunities to repurpose military budgets in ways that contribute to development and peace, both domestically and abroad. We work with our stakeholders to build strategies and targeted messaging around positive-sum solutions using design thinking, visioning, and other planning methodologies.

future labs

Broomfield, CO USA