A day‐long workshop was held with representatives of the Findhorn Community, including the Findhorn Foundation, the Findhorn College, and the New Findhorn Association. The workshop took the form of playing the IFF World Game. The first phase involved the gaming scenario of participants being asked to research and report back to the mayor of a medium‐sized city on the core challenge: “What might be the biggest challenges to our city’s resilience in the next ten years?”
Participants were asked to research the global situation, trends and possible discontinuities while focusing on the twelve factors of the World System Model. The aim was to identify a key concern for each of the twelve factors. The second phase was a ‘fast and frugal’ round of scenario exercises to consider the interactions of some of these global trends and discontinuities, including their potential impact on the hypothetical city in the case of synchronous failure or disruption in a number of areas.
The third phase brought the results of the Game closer to the real world of the Findhorn Community by assuming that the fictional mayor had asked the members of the community what Findhorn could do to help his city in particular and to avoid catastrophic scenarios in general. The lessons and insights from the day were synthesised through a ‘wisdom council’ that resulted in a list of declaration statements about the most pressing issues faced by communities.
“…synergistic in conception, practice and result. Pacing was perfect for me. Experience a next step in self-awareness and relationship to the whole.”
“Inspiring and concrete, thank you for a new useful tool. Would be interested in getting training for this kind of session.”
“Useful to put it ALL out in one go… i.e. see so many issues and their synergy at once.”
Participants had responded to the following challenge:
As concerned citizens, you are invited to explore possible futures for Dundee City using the framework of the World Model developed by IFF. This will lead you to review critical global trends and potential discontinuities and disruptions that are likely to affect the future of Dundee. The method for engaging with this exploration is through a game. The World Model becomes a ‘game board’ on which you will role play in an intense but light-hearted way an advisory council to Dundee City. The game is very permissive to creative thinking: whatever we think and say ‘it’s only a game’. However, useful, even exciting insights are generated that inform serious considerations. We hope the conversation will generate some serious insights about the future of the city.
“It is remarkable how much ground has been covered in such a short time, and how quickly we have ‘got on to the same page’.”
“The IFF World Game process could be very effective in generating ideas for social innovations and social enterprise.”
The subject chosen for the purposes of introducing the game and having an enjoyable and relevant conversation was: the future viability of the US over the next 20 years.
The World Game is a role-playing game. So volunteers were first appointed to twelve Cabinet Secretary posts corresponding to the twelve nodes of the World System Model. Together with a number of special advisers they collectively formed the US Government for the afternoon.
In the middle phase of the game four groups each took on imagining possible impact scenarios if a combination of three major shocks happened simultaneously – the idea of synchronous failures.
Scenario A: Climate plus Wealth plus Habitat Crisis
Largest population shift in US history
Industrial agriculture fails
Rebirth of small-scale, artisan economies
Scenario B: Food plus Trade plus Community Crisis
Saudi Arabia shuts off oil supplies
Farms guarded by militia and the rich hoard food
Massive reduction in fresh food availability
Scenario C: Water plus Energy plus Governance Crisis
Prevalence of famine and disease
Currency collapse and food riots
Resource-rich communities protecting themselves
Collapse of community collaboration
Scenario D: Wellbeing plus Biosphere plus Worldview Crisis
Mankind temporarily outsmarts nature until monoculture solution fails
Drought leading to food and energy failure
Suicide and crime epidemics
In the final phase a Wisdom Council was called to generate ideas to head off or survive the crises with far-sighted actions. A range of policy ideas was called forth:
Wellbeing: Train all leaders in consciousness, transformation, new leadership skills. Let consciousness rule.
Nurture all positive solutions designed from a basis of trust (global, not just the US).
Food: Link production and consumption levels for planetary sustainability.
Food is a necessity. Protect purity and sanctity of natural resources.
Trade: Lead in establishing global goal of shared, sustainable prosperity. Global governance to match this.
Empower people and communities to produce food locally.
Energy: Address our fears: regular fireside chats about transformative resilience.
Climate: Run down the carbon economy, reinvest in local community and green technology.
Rapid move from fossil fuels. Move from the coast. Save water and prepare for system collapse.
Biosphere: Make long-term consequences more visible
Understand threat to environment. Defer to scientific warnings and evidence.
Water: Conserve supply, reduce use and contamination. Reduce demand through taxation, contraception, abortion.
Build green energy grid. Conserve energy and water.
Habitat: Prepare people for inevitable losses we must face. Human love is an infinite resource. Hope not fear.
Support capacity to live sustainably – with community building, systemic understanding and investment.
Wealth: Create conditions for locally sustainable equitable economies.
Reframe ‘wealth’ and ‘success’ to redefine the American Dream.
Governance: Provide leaders with safety and spaces to think.
Bring humanity and compassion to work – full human potential.
Provide appropriate information openly and freely to government and governed.
Community: Economic justice as the marrow of all social policy and innovation.
Shake hands with, and respect, communities of the world. Let the rich know the poor.
Worldview: Build capacity for logical reasoning and love.
Recognise labours of others across the world. Failure of one is failure of all.
“The game provided an easy entry to complexity”
“There is an elegance about the game that stimulates creativity because of its constraints”
“It is game like in giving us permission to get beyond our normal assumptions”
“Play wakes up our capacity for problem solving. Always has done.”