Young Professionals for Community Transformation

Abstract: We face the challenges of a continuously emerging world where continuous and rapid change will be the norm. What is required is nothing less than a complete rethinking of how we learn, how we do economic development, how we govern, how we lead, and especially how we think. With this in mind, we seek young professionals to participate with this groundbreaking collaboration.

A 21st Century Collaboration by Communities of the Future (COTF) and the World Future Society (WFS)


Local communities are struggling to adapt to an emerging economy and society that are very different from the past. We believe young professionals must be fully engaged in shaping new institutions they will lead and develop for their communities and future generations.

There are very divergent perceptions of what will be required to prepare local areas to be vital and sustainable in an age of constant change and increasing complexity. Many people express the need and frustration with returning to time-honored principles and methods for the U.S. to be successful and regain its former energy. This leads to frustration and rearranging the decks chairs on the ship. Others see the world through a different filter and realize that we are at a time of historical transformation so profound that we need to reconceptualize basic institutions and create new concepts and methods that will be aligned with an emerging society not fully formed. This leads to discussions of re-building the ship. But how do we overhaul the ship while we are sailing it?

We face the challenge of developing approaches to prepare for a civilization that does not yet fully exist. Certain patterns are forming and certain directions are emerging that allow those who have foresight and who are increasingly comfortable with complexity, uncertainty and ambiguity to connect together in deep collaboration. This collaboration leads to testing what ideas and methods will allow our local communities to adapt and become aligned with an organic, interconnected age. We will refer to this type of emerging society as the Organic, Connected Age and Ecological Civilization.

What is required is nothing less than a complete rethinking of how we learn, how we do economic development, how we govern, how we lead, and especially how we think. Since there are no templates and models to go by, there is a need for networks and nodes of emerging leaders to be connected in projects, processes and events of research and development at the local level to begin to find out what will work and what needs to be left in the dustbin of history.

It is the premise of this collaborative effort between the Center for Communities of the Future and the World Future Society that emerging leaders under age forty-five must become the champions of community transformation. The young professionals (YPs) of the U.S. and world must be fully engaged in “reconceptualizing” new institutions they will lead and develop for their communities and future generations to be vital and sustainable. Young professionals will have the great opportunity to help develop a framework of transformative values, a new way of thinking, sets of parallel processes and new leadership capacities that will move local communities into a new paradigm for the 21st century.

It is with this in mind that we are seeking young professionals under fifty to become involved with this groundbreaking collaboration. COTF and the World Future Society want to organize an international network of young professionals who would be interested in being a part of a unique and cutting edge concept to help our local communities transform and prepare for a different kind of future. We recognize the importance and great potential of our youth to provide a new type of leadership based on 1) thinking within a futures context, 2) utilizing interlocking, collaborative networks to devise transformative innovations at the local level appropriate for a constantly changing future, and 3) creating and testing transformational processes, projects and events to help build a culture at the local level that is truly open to new, transformative ideas and supportive of constant innovation/transformation.

The Intent

The following are key concepts connected to this innovative approach for creating an international network of young professionals involved with helping communities adapt to a constantly changing future:

  • Identify young professionals in different states and countries interested in being a part of the international network of Young Professionals for Community Transformation.
  • Have the initial group of YPs, COTF and WFS recommend other young professionals who have: 1) a keen intellect and a concern for others, 2) a commitment to working in collaboration to deal with the challenges of the 21st century, 3) interest in preparing their community for a different kind of economy and society,  4) a comfort with ambiguity and uncertainty, 5) computer, technical and social networking skills, and 6) a desire to learn the leadership ideas and skills of a Master Capacity Builder.
  • Insure that each young professional chosen is willing to volunteer a minimum number of three hours per month learning transformational thinking, developing collaborative skills within the network and designing parallel processes, futures projects and events to seed transformational thinking and action in local communities.
  • Develop interlocking networks of young professionals in different states around transformative ideas to test new approaches aligned with some aspect of a community’s needs for an emerging future.

Why Should You Become Involved?

  • Young Professionals will be introduced to cutting edge thinking and new leadership skills pioneered by COTF and the WFS.
  • YPs will meet and become colleagues of nationally and internationally known thought leaders.
  • YPs will have the opportunity to make a difference in their communities and country by learning how to seed and develop “capacities for transformation.”
  • YPs will become “mutual mentors” to various age groups….. learning how to facilitate community transformation, at the same time that they are helping others become comfortable with a future of constant change.
  • YPs will build a résumé of skills, contacts and accomplishments that will prepare them for a Creative Molecular Economy and Organic, Connected Society.
  • YPs will become published in the WFS publications when a transformational idea or effort gains success in helping local communities shift into new paradigms of thinking and action.

Initial Steps

Apr 10 – Aug 30 ‘12             Identify and recruit initial YPs

Aug 30 – Sept 30, ‘12          Prepare material for meeting in the DC area

Oct, ’12                                   Initial meeting with WFS and COTF

Oct- Nov ‘12                          Create a collaborative virtual platform

March  ‘13                              Continue recruiting YP Network

July ’13                                   Introduce YP for CT Network

Second Phase to Develop Core Leader Team

Jan – Dec ’14                          Develop Core Leadership Team

Jan – July ’15                         Involve key YP leaders in COTF work

Third Phase to Position Young Professionals at Forefront of 21st Cetury Narrative

Aug – Dec ’15                          Core leadership group will collaboratewith COTF and eleven other global/national networks to develop the “21st century narrative” content to be introduced at the World Future Society Conference in Washington, DC.

Jan – July ’16                          Core leadership team will recruit 100 Millennials to be a part of the Special Event at the WFS Conference when the “21st century narrative” is introduced by them.