Fearless Futures uniquely works within organisations to engage people in critical thinking to understand and challenge the root causes of inequalities and to grow powerful new leadership for transformative change.
What makes us different and why it works
Nobody is ever just one thing
For too long, most D&I work has separated out issues into silos, prioritising one item over another. Our programme explores the ways our identities connect. The experiences of a woman of colour will be different to a white woman. The experiences of disabled people, and the perspectives of LGBTQIA+ folks cannot be viewed or understood in isolation to the other identities that make a person who they are. All parts of us inform how we experience the world. We use gender as a gateway to exploring connected inequalities.
We are unique.
Exploring these connections is fundamental to our approach and necessary in creating communities where people can show up as their whole selves every day.
There must exist a paradigm, a practical model for social change that includes an understanding of ways to transform consciousness that are linked to efforts to transform structures.
Our programmes are committed to sustainable impact
We cannot undo centuries of inequalities – across race, gender, class, sexuality, faith and ability – with a ‘cheeky webinar’. Suggesting we can belittles the nature of these issues.
We know that investment of time and thought is needed to unlearn inequalities and that learning and practice go hand in hand. We estimate that it takes about 27 hours of intensive education (3.5 days) for a paradigm shift to have been cultivated and put in action. We also recognise that organisations are busy places.
One way we resolve this tension is through a multi-week digestible structure that:
- Honours the time required for this important work;
- Supports participants to give the best of themselves; and
- Enables the high impact reflective and practical element of our programme, both in terms of content and structure.
It also makes possible “buddying-up” participants. Doing this supports participants to commit to small actions between workshops, for which their buddy will hold them to account, as well as provide the institutional solidarity required to bring about change.
The power of a free mind consists of trusting your own mind to ask the questions that need to be asked and your own capacity to figure out the strategies you need to get those questions answered.
Patricia Hill Collins
We support participants to develop a critical lens and framework to take action, every day
We don’t lecture, nor do we censor or police behaviours and attitudes. We’re not here to enforce a “PC culture” or help tick diversity boxes.
Instead, we are explicit about power and privilege because effective social change entails honesty and clarity about the root causes of inequalities.
It simply is not enough to give people a list of “what to avoid saying and doing” for specific categories of people. The world is more complex than that and context is ever-shifting. Instead, we support participants to develop their own internalised framework to navigate positively and powerfully through the world, and the tools to put it into practice.
Through experiential learning and critical thought participants develop a cognitive process that sustains long after the trainers have left and the workbooks are closed.
Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be. This is the interrelated structure of reality.
Martin Luther King Jr.
We have a structure that works for everyone
Our programmes include everyone. They are enhanced by the diversity in the room across race, gender, sexuality, faith, class and ability. In fact, we specifically challenge the idea that gender inequality is a “woman’s issue”, racism an issue for people of colour to solve, and that those who endure other intersecting inequities are responsible for undoing them.
As such, we craft ways for everyone in our programmes to productively explore the ways they experience privilege and power, and the simultaneous ways in which privilege and inequalities co-exist. In order to dismantle the harm of inequities, each of us must engage in challenging how we benefit from the ways our organisational cultures operate at the expense of others so that we can stand in solidarity with one another across difference.
We amplify the power of our work through peer learning
The “Peer Power” element of our work has two key outcomes:
- It ensures deep and sustainable change in Core Participants by affording them the opportunity to lead meaningful change in their own place of work
- The confidence to tackle emerging issues is firmly seated in-house, providing powerful learning for colleagues and shifting organisational culture
This approach also overcomes problems with lack of staff uptake or buy in as the radiating effects through this deep work reaches everyone in the division/department whether they are directly involved or not.
Humor is essential to working with difficult subjects: race, gender, class, sexuality. If you can’t laugh at yourself and be with others in laughter, you really cannot create meaningful social change.
Our learning is fun!
Our workshops are built on participant-led, discursive, and vibrant activities because challenging and informative learning doesn't need to be serious and stuffy!
We believe that while webinars and online instruction have their own successes they frequently lack stimulation and engagement - a key problem in many ‘diversity’ programmes.
Our facilitators share a commitment as educators to practising transformational learning and unlocking the power of people to dismantle interconnected inequalities and lead powerful change.
As such, the deep, participative and reflective nature of our content cannot be delivered through e-learning. Deep learning requires participants to be comfortable with discomfort, to engage with their vulnerability and to be really present to the life experiences of others within the learning group. It fundamentally relies on physical, intellectual and emotional presence in the room.
Fearless Futures: Working with everybody
We engage with organisations in a number of ways tailored to both their context and levels of courage and commitment to making powerful change happen.
Our programmes provide a powerful and necessary space that:
- Facilitates participants’ critical thinking & learning;
- Builds a community that is deeply cognisant of inequalities and commonalities among their lived experiences; and
- Develops the tools to re-imagine power relations, build up collective power and grow leadership for transformation
Ultimately, our experience leads us to know that people need 26 hours of deep engagement to grow transformative change. Our programmes can be structured in a number of ways, such as as 3.5 consecutive days or, even more impactful, as multi-week learning.
We recognise that there are often multiple stakeholders to engage internally - especially when departing from convention and seeking a disruptive and transformative method. We know that the most compelling way of understanding our approach is to invite us to deliver an introductory workshop. This will always deploy our intersectional approach, though we can anchor it in a particular issue.
- An introduction to power and privilege;
- Masculinities: How do they inform for our organisational culture?;
- What’s race got to do with it? Race and culture in our organisation; or
- Are we ‘in’ to inclusive leadership?
We are open to crafting a workshop that focuses on the angle you’re particularly interested in exploring.
This visual is an example of a ‘best in class’ approach for large organisations. This programme can easily be scaled up or down to suit the needs of your organisation.
Design for Inclusion
We need Design for Inclusion because being smart is not enough. Nor is being well intentioned. We know this because we’ve seen well intentioned, good and very smart people engage in harmful and limiting designs and problem-solving practices time and time again: Snapchat; Air BnB; facebook, Bic; Gap Kids; Google; Apple Health App, Pepsi and Twitter, among others.
Our Design for Inclusion programme unites human-centred design with much needed critical approaches to inequalities, power and privilege for those creators, builders and designers of policies, products and services who want to:
- Problem-solve in paradigm-shifting and intersectional ways
- Develop new tools to challenge interconnected inequalities and promote inclusion in all that they do
- Grow their practice for inclusion that interrupts the status quo and re-imagines power relations during the why, what, who and how of design
- Be part of a community of practitioners who have done the necessary inner-work to drive robust change
To discover more, watch this video of previous Design for Inclusion participants' experiences.
Dominator culture has tried to keep us all afraid, to make us choose safety instead of risk, sameness instead of diversity. Moving through that fear, finding out what connects us, revelling in our differences; this is the process that brings us closer, that gives us a world of shared values, of meaningful community.
I am committed to challenging the status quo at work and ensuring everyone’s voice is heard. I am much aware of the importance of this than before.
Hanna is one of the few people I would say has had a truly powerful and pivotal impact on my life and the way I live it. She has helped me to discover the person I want to be and given me the tools and inspiration to be a better human being.
Great energy from the start – welcoming, accepting and positive. Nice balance between being relaxed and active.
I found the training session involving, challenging and encouraging. I feel it increased my conviction to tackle gender inequality, and learning more about it. I think the openness led to some positive and progressive discussions which were of great value to me. Thank you!
One of the best trainings I have received. I positively challenged myself and I am willing to be more critical towards my research skills, work and the contribution I have to the world.
I think everyone in the world needs to do the Fearless Futures programme.
Below is a sample of our impact measurement focused on shifts in knowledge, action and attitudes pre- and post- programme.
If one desires a change, one must be that change before that change can take place.