What If We Adopted Radical Thinking for Equitable Futures?

Our new report explores evidence-based visions of the future of global education based on trends identified today
Amy Klement
Managing Partner, Board Member
Erin Simmons
Global Head, Operations and Strategic Projects
Molly McMahon, Alex Nana-Sinkam and Natalia Vasquez
IDEO
Collapse is painful, but it carries within it the seeds of transformation. As we live through the effects of a global crisis, we feel a shared urgency to demand a more equitable future. In collective action, there is hope.
Learning Reimagined: Radical Thinking for Equitable Futures


The COVID-19 pandemic has turned so many aspects of our world upside down, including how we learn. As schools abruptly closed overnight, learning disruption took place across all communities. Educators, students and their families, have had to grapple with their new realities, while quickly adapting to new modes of learning.

What if we adopted radical thinking about learning to co-create equitable futures?

Navigating our way through this unrelenting pandemic requires that we must let go of business-as-usual, and open ourselves up to radical reimagination of learning and learning systems. With this goal in mind, earlier this year, Imaginable Futures and IDEO partnered to build our muscles on sensing and sense-making in this time of uncertainty. What came out of this futuring exercise was a rethinking of what’s possible – both the positives and negative unintended consequences that are emerging from the pandemic and the movement for racial justice.

We are excited to share Learning Reimagined: Radical Thinking for Equitable Futures, the result of our joint exploration of the global disruption of our education systems and an evidence-based vision of the future.

Given the enormity of changes, we purposely pulled out of our typical areas of focus to better understand even broader possible implications for children, families, educators and more. While the original intent of the project was purely an internal exercise, after reflecting on our work, we decided to make our learnings public. Our hope is that by sharing what we’ve learned, and struggled with, others might find inspiration and opportunity.

Learning Reimagined: Radical Thinking for Equitable Futures

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A Global Dialogue

Through our explorations, we leveraged the tools of design fiction and futuring: analyzing the drivers of change (a global pandemic and economic fallout and movements towards racial justice), citing early signals of hope (the heroic response of educators and supporting communities, for whom this report holds a deep reverence), and sketching future scenarios (opportunity areas and imagined outcomes that can help us better understand and plan for what is to come).

While reports can feel like a sealed chamber, we hope this report invites open dialogue.

Which of the scenarios outlined in the report do we strive to avoid, and how? Which are an inspiring call to action? We welcome you to join us as we explore questions like:

What if, in the future...

  • ... schools truly became whole child centers?
  • ... teachers become community coaches?
  • ... cities defunded the police and reinvested in collective care?
  • ... technology changed not just what students learn, but how they learn?
  • … a new sense of power emerges with a new generation?

In articulating broad opportunity areas, we are eager to hear from global communities with diverse perspectives about how they would adapt these ideas. We aspire to collectively imagine a better future and begin thinking about what it will take to get there.

Our hope is that this report will serve not as a persistent Guiding Star, but as a starting point for thoughtful provocation about the role we each play in this evolving world.

Join the Conversation

As you read, we invite you to answer these questions and engage with this material and our teams via social media using #LearningReimagined. We look forward to hearing from you.

Explore the report