Farm 2 Fork - Food System Transformation Requires Futures Thinking

Recording December 16, 2022

Change drivers: clusters of trends that interact and influence each other

Futures thinking is a collection of scalable processes and versatile tools that can help transform the food system. The approach has been used effectively across the private, public, and social sectors to better understand, imagine, discuss, and create change. Futures thinking is also an action-oriented mindset that enables moving forward with confidence even as uncertainty is embraced, not resolved. Minds are opened to alternative futures that challenge assumptions, often made implicitly, about how the world could and should work.

To illustrate, change drivers recently identified by Stray Dog Institute will be presented. Change drivers are clusters of trends that interact and influence each other, creating larger forces of change. Impacts generated by these clusters can be disruptive—greater than the sum of the trends that comprise them. The scan was intended to support Stray Dog Institute and its partner organizations in making more informed and effective choices in a period of exceptional global volatility.

Tom Conger

Tom Conger is the executive director of Stray Dog Institute, a private operating foundation cultivating dignity, justice, and sustainability in the food system. The foundation provides funding, strategic research, and opportunities for collaboration to build a compassionate world for people, animals, and the environment.

Tom leverages decades of experience providing foresight, strategy, and innovation services to global companies contributing to the food and agriculture value chain—from agricultural inputs and agrotechnology to restaurants and retail. Before joining Stray Dog Institute in 2018, Tom started and sold two companies: Social Technologies (1999–2008) and (2012–2014). He earned an M.S. in Studies of the Future from the University of Houston’s Clear Lake campus, near the Johnson Space Center, and a B.S. in Political Science from Texas A&M University.