Workshop: Civic Foresight Lab at European Forum Alpbach

Anticipating and counteracting disruptions of democracy

25 August 2023

Visegrad Insight, together with the THE CIVICS Innovation Hub and European Forum Alpbach is running the  Civic Foresight Lab – Anticipating and counteracting disruptions of democracy.

Taking place during the “Lab Days” module between 24 and 27 August, 2023, it brings stakeholders in civic education in Europe.

Together, we map out directions of joint action. We use our foresight method to prepare actionable solutions and policy options to the challenges for civic education brought by transformative mega-trends (based on a case study of ‘migration’).

Lastly, to showcase how the strategic foresight method can innovate civic education, discuss its prospects and limitations of application.

Facilitators :

  • Wojciech Przybylski, Editor-in-Chief, Visegrad Insight
  • Magda Jakubowska, Vice President of the Board, Visegrad Insight
  • Maja Kurilić, Project Manager, THE CIVICS Innovation Hub
  • Darija Sesar Petrić, Project Manager, THE CIVICS Innovation Hub

Why do we do this ?

  • Bring together people with a stake in European civic education to map out directions of joint action
  • Use the foresight method to prepare actionable solutions and policy options to the challenges for civic education brought by transformative mega-trends (based on a case study of migration)
  • Showcase how the strategic foresight method can innovate civic education – discuss its prospects and limitations of application

What does success look like?

  • Participants have a shared understanding of the potential for joint European action in civic education
  • Participants deepen their understanding of how megatrends (incl. migration as a case study) impact civic education and build up resilience plans
  • Participants learn the basics of the strategic foresight method
  • Participants familiarize themselves with potential applications of strategic foresight methods for civic education

How will we deliver on the outcome?

The 3-day lab will involve structured brainstorming sessions, inspirational talks and design thinking sessions. Based on strategic foresight methods, it will map out challenges for civic education, in particular, related to migration and other megatrends and the change processes they trigger. Main question: How do you think civic education needs to be responding to the upcoming migration trends and the challenges they impose to society by 2030? Eventually, it will generate actionable solutions and policy options, which will stem from the analysis. The process will require participants to be involved at all times. Small breakout groups will share their partial outcomes with participants in other groups a few times before collecting the conclusions at the end. Participants in each breakout group will explore scenario-based analysis and challenge their assumptions about linear trajectories of change-related challenges in civic education. It will be engaging, intense, and interactive. It will empower participants with a skillset useful to deal with complexity and global uncertainties and contribute to a more resilient civic education ecosystem.


The major global transformations of our time – geopolitical conflict over scarce resources, migration, demographics, climate change, or digitalisation and AI – pose challenges to democracy and civic cohesion throughout Europe. While authoritarian, illiberal, and populist forces, amplified by social networks, are well prepared to channel related disruptions into distrust vis a vis the traditional institutions of democracy, defenders and guardians of democracy and civic cohesion, civic actors and educators seem rather ill-prepared to respond to and contain them. Instead of reacting, how can they be better equipped to act preemptively upon disruptive dynamics that undermine civic cohesion and democratic stability?

The Civic Foresight Lab is a learning space for applying foresight methodology to build bottom-up preparedness for upcoming disruptions of democracy and civic cohesion. The Lab will focus on one specific transformative development – migration – and build cases around it to anticipate the likely disruptive effects of such development on local microcosms (communities, professional, social, or other stakeholder groups). Along the cases, Lab participants will co-create tangible tools for thinking and acting pre-emptively to strengthen future literacy and enhance democratic resilience within those microcosms.

The Civic Foresight Lab contributes to the EFA Democracy Track purpose “Reinforcing Democracy in Europe” by convening actors from all over Europe who are vested in sustaining democracy and civic cohesion – be they in education, politics, policymaking, public administration, journalism, philanthropy, community activism, or other. While foresight as a methodology is common for security experts, it is hardly known to those that secure and safeguard civic cohesion – a knowledge and skills gap the Lab seeks to address.

This effort is possible thanks to the support from the GMF US and USAID, and the NECE – Networking European Civic Education.

Strategic Foresight by Visegrad Insight

In-house programme dedicated to analysing impactful trends, mapping out potential scenarios and generating weekly and monthly foresights.


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