HOUSEHOLD DEBT RELIEF
We are developing innovative social policy proposals to relieve the debt burdens holding back low-income families from full economic participation and examining the potential role of public policy to directly address the problem of unmanageable debt burdens by relieving debt for low-income families.
EQUITABLE BUSINESS MODELS
We are conducting research and have assembled a network of innovators pioneering alternative forms of value creation, such as Positive Platforms, which provide equity stakes to not just investors but also workers, co-ops, neighborhood and public trusts, limited-profit companies, and other organizational structures.
DATA AS AN ASSET
We are prototyping new models of data ownership and governance that promote a more equitable society by exploring how collective data might function as a public asset, with instruments for the public to share in the profits of companies that derive profits from aggregating and monetizing personal and behavioral data.
VIRTUAL REALITY TOOLS FOR SOCIAL EQUITY
We are building on the unique capacity of IFTF’s Emerging Media Lab to create new immersive tools that enable a first-person exploration of compelling data visualizations that communicate a sensory-rich understanding of social inequality and prototype potential solutions.
IFTF is in the heart of Silicon Valley, and with its wide network of relationships with leaders and innovators in Silicon Valley, we are ideally positioned to shape the discussions, agendas, and proposed solutions aimed at reducing social inequality. The Equitable Futures Lab is a bridge that connects existing knowledge and analyses of the political economy of inequality and public policy to the best of Silicon Valley’s approaches to innovation and technology development. Effective responses to economic inequality will require us to bridge disciplines, connecting domains often analyzed in isolation: work, education, racial inequity, wealth accumulation and distribution, health, public policy, business structures, technological changes, and demographics.
The Equitable Futures Lab builds on previous work by IFTF on inequality. A selection of these projects includes:
The California Future of Work Commission, in partnership with IFTF, released a new report providing recommendations to “future-proof” California’s workforce against climate change, rising inequality, rapid technological shifts and other growing threats. The report findings build upon IFTF’s 50+ years of experience in futures work and long-time focus on changes in the nature of work and their implications for wealth and racial inequality—culminating in recommendations for a new social compact for work and workers in California.
We developed the Workable Futures Initiative to bring together policymakers, labor, and corporate leaders to confront the changing nature of work and develop solutions to promote economic security. We worked closely with U.S. Secretary of Labor Tom Perez, including workshops with the Department of Labor and the White House. We also convened a council of corporate and labor leaders, academics, and social innovators to create principles for Positive Platforms and prototyped online platforms that work not only for investors but also for workers relying on these platforms to make a living. See the Workable Futures Initiative.
We developed the Universal Basic Assets (UBA) framework to address wealth inequality and the disappearance of jobs that once provided economic security through basic retirement and health benefits. The Universal Basic Assets framework outlines a vision for a system of public, private, and open assets that can produce a more equitable future. See the Universal Basic Assets project.
We have prototyped virtual reality (VR) simulations for ex-offenders that promote successful reintegration. Through these simulations, ex-offenders experience scenarios that they might face upon their release, such as hiring discrimination. The immersive simulations allow them to develop strategies to challenges that can be obstacles to reintegration. The state of Massachusetts has adopted these VR simulations for a pilot project to improve outcomes for incarcerated women. Learn about the VR for Reentry Project.
Equitable Futures: Community Speaks. We are committed to engaging diverse communities from around the world in imagining more equitable and sustainable futures. With support from the Blue Shield of California Foundation, IFTF hosted three community-based events in 2018 to re-imagine the future in collaboration with Afrofuturist artists, gender-focused thought leaders, and seven global nodes in a week-long network of distributed social reimagining. here are the studies from the sponsored events at IFTF. Read more about these events and communities here.
Workable Health: Achieving Health Equity Amid Changing Work Dynamics. Institute for the Future (IFTF) with support from Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), convened a group of work and health leaders to evaluate how present-day forces shaping work will influence health equity, both positively and negatively, over the next decade. Read the full report here.
Marina Gorbis Executive Director
Marina has brought a futures perspective to hundreds of organizations in business, education, government, philanthropy, and civic society. Marina’s current research focuses on transformations in the world of work and new forms of value creation. She launched the Workable Futures Initiative at IFTF with the aim of developing a deeper understanding of new work patterns and to prototype a generation of Positive Platforms for work. She has introduced the concept of Universal Basic Assets (UBA) as a framework for thinking about different types of assets and the role they play in economic security. The UBA framework also highlights a variety of approaches and tools we can use to achieve wider asset distribution and greater equity. She frequently writes and speaks on future organizational, technology, and social issues. She holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a master’s degree in public policy from the University of California, Berkeley.
Rod Falcon IFTF Vantage Partnership Director
Rod brings his extensive experience directing research and teams at IFTF to his current role co-leading IFTF’s IFTF Vantage Partnership. With a deep background in public health policy, he has served in several different capacities at IFTF since 1995, including leading the Food Futures and Health Futures programs and leading research for the Tech Futures program. In the course of his work, Rod speaks to executive audiences and helps them find innovative strategies for participating in the global economy. Born in Oakland, California, in a time and place of great social change, and Rod attended nearby UC Berkeley to earn a BA in American history and a master’s of public policy. After working to enforce the Voting Rights Act for the Justice Department, Rod realized that public policy was not as future oriented as it might be and was inspired to do something about it. He came to IFTF to forecast the future of the California health care safety net.
Ben Hamamoto Research Director
As a research director at IFTF, Ben uses insights from his background in journalism covering issues of race and inequality to explore how well-being is shaped by social and environmental contexts. He has researched the future of food technology, environments that enhance well-being, and the design of healthy places, and he has an ongoing interest in narrative and health, the meaning of place, and equity and social justice. In addition to his work at IFTF, Ben contributes to the Nichi Bei Weekly and edits the National Japanese American Historical Society’s official magazine, Nikkei Heritage.
Lyn Jeffery Program Director of IFTF Foresight Essentials
Lyn is a cultural anthropologist who collects stories of change from around the world and tracks the new social practices that make you shake your head in wonder or concern about where we’re heading. Her core interest is in exploring how people make sense of the rapidly shifting world around them, whether it’s a “left-behind” child in a Sichuan village, an executive in a large multinational organization, or an amateur musician experimenting with new VR instruments. She has enduring interests in mobility, social media, communication and collaboration, and over thirty years of experience doing research in China. Lyn leads IFTF’s Foresight Essentials program, delivering professional foresight training to public and private sector practitioners around the world. Lyn holds a BA in Chinese Studies and a Ph.D. in anthropology from the University of California, Santa Cruz.
Rachel Maguire Research Director
Rachel has studied the intersecting and interacting forces shaping the future of how we learn, work, play and take care of one another. Her research and foresight work situates the future of health and health care within the context of external forces that are shaping the next decade, like linear trends affecting health and healthcare with larger technological, demographic and economic influences to better anticipate directional change in the future of self-care and clinical care. Rachel has led numerous public engagements with organizations, including Capital One, Dell Technologies, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Philips Healthcare. To gather firsthand views of changing practices and beliefs, Rachel has designed and conducted ethnographic research on lead users and early adopters in the United States and Latin America. In 2017, Rachel served as a judge for Celgene’s Innovation Impact Awards. She holds a BA in politics from Oberlin College and an MPAff (master of public affairs) from the University of Texas at Austin.
Wayne Pan Research Director
Wayne brings a deep passion for the power of futures thinking to his role, and believes in the need to explore and envision preferable futures, challenge existing assumptions around environmental conservation, sustainability, and international development issues. Finding just and equitable systems-based solutions to these issues continue to drive his work and research. Prior to joining the Institute, he was a key member of the futures team at Kantar where he helped Fortune 500 companies from a wide range of industries to explore and plan for the future. Having lived and worked in six countries across three continents, he brings a global perspective based on a deep appreciation for cultural differences and local contexts. Wayne has a Masters of Science in Environmental Science, Policy and Management from an Erasmus Mundus program based at Central European University and Lund Universit. He also holds a BA in History, specializing in modern Chinese history, from UC Berkeley. He speaks Mandarin.
Teffera G. Teffera Digital Experience Manager
Prior to joining IFTF, he worked at the Voice of America and the U.S. Agency for Global Media, where he served as a multimedia producer, managing editor, and digital media strategist. Teffera’s storytelling and research covered audiences spanning 14 African languages, with a focus on youth and technology, notably digital platforms usage and internet circumvention trends. His recent research interests include AI enabled media technologies, internet balkanization, and the development of digital public infrastructures.