The future is born in the imagination of individuals


From Buddhism to salt, the ideas and goods which traversed the silk roads of old forever changed the face of the known world. Today, these well-worn routes have been transformed into platforms and fiber optic cables which transport the commodities of the 21st century between continents in the blink of an eye. Alongside them, the oil and gas pipelines which fuel capitalist globalization have allowed for the unprecedented mobility of people and technologies but also harken a climate crisis spinning out of control.

How do we navigate these new and old routes together to shape the future we want to live in?

New Silk Roads develops futures thinking programs which engage audiences to develop visions and scenarios for their preferred futures. Grounded in exploration over prediction, and possibility over certainty, New Silk Roads approaches futures thinking as an entry point to imagine what could happen, rather than trying to predict what will happen. These programs—including Futures Labs, masterclasses, workshops, and online speaker series—equip participants with the skills, tools, and community to imagine novel futures which push beyond future tropes, “used futures,” and quick solution fixes.

Are you excited about developing preferred future scenarios for your company, your organization, or your community? Get in touch.

Course brief


What If Waste Did Not Exist?

Imagining the Tunis Medina in 2050?

New Silk Roads offered a one-day, futures thinking intensive course where participants boldly imagined preferred futures for waste management in the historic medina of Tunis. Through gamification, hands-on activities, and arts-based facilitation, the participants developed specific futures thinking skills, such as signal identification, backcasting, and foresight. Participants then used these skills to collectively imagine their preferred future scenarios for waste management in the Tunis Medina. This course was delivered to a diverse group of experienced professionals from the private sector, academia, civil society, local governments, and the arts community.

This course has been organised in partnership with Blue Fish and Dar Ben Gacem and made possible by Hivos and the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Course brief


Future of Farming in Egypt

How can we imagine bold futures for organic farming in Egypt?

Designed for a diverse group of experienced professionals, this one-day, intensive course was initiated to imagine radically different futures for farming in Egypt.

This intensive course utilized two interlinked approaches, gamification and scenario building to explore principles of futures thinking and work with participants to develop key futures thinking skills, such as signal identification, backcasting, strategic foresight, and scenario-building. The course also included scenario building sessions designed and facilitated by a team of creatives. These sessions deployed theatre and dramatic storytelling, choreography and embodied movement, and visual arts-based collective mapping, respectively, to unlock imaginative processes and collectively explore a range of preferred, possible futures for food production in Egypt.

This course has been organised in partnership with Rdna and KMT House.