Project Overview

Expertise: Service design, strategic design, futures thinking, systems thinking

My Role: Lead Service Designer and Futurist at Futurice

Client: the Wales Council for Voluntary Action (WCVA)

Awards: See deep dive case study on core 77 Award page

Writing: Access Public report here

Sector: Voluntary and Charity Sector

Dates: 2021

Voluntary Sector Futures

In 2021 I led the nationwide ‘Voluntary Sector Futures’ 2030 visioning partnership in Wales with Futurice, the Wales Council for Voluntary Action (WCVA), Third Sector Support Wales (TSSW), Welsh Government, Future Generations Commissioner and 80+ voluntary sector representatives. I facilitated the co-design of WCVA & TSSW's vision, 5 year strategy and public report. I applied a planet-centric approach by combining Human-centred Design, Futures Thinking & Design Justice principles. A unique process to meet the challenge and scale of the project, whilst also adhering to design justice principle - prioritising local and traditionally marginalised points of view to envision more just futures.


In order to design one united 2030 vision that represents WCVA's membership, between May and August 2021 I collaborated with over 100 stakeholders associated with 80+ diverse voluntary sector organisations across Wales, as well as the public and private sectors.

I facilitated a series of horizon-scanning research sessions alongside collaborative exercises. Surveys, in-depth interviews, presentations and participatory futures workshops were some of the methods used to ensure diverse points of view were included. Future imaginaries were refined into one preferred guiding vision that represents the fundamentally different Wales participants want a decade from now - a just, green, caring and community-oriented society. Action ideas to transform the vision into reality were designed and initiated with participants.


A set of 54 seeds of change was generated from the secondary research and collaborative workshops. These statements provide insight into potential, preferred and positive futures based on participant input and innovative initiatives in Wales. The seeds of change are accessible as a commons via a public report for anyone to use. These create a springboard to support more visioning and actions that will positively impact the future.

I facilitated a futures wheel activity to build on this by engaging stakeholders to explore how seeds might grow over time towards 2030 and create positive impact. The end result was a variety of inspiring, co-created future impacts which provide a rich source of insight into the potential futures that the sector wants.

"Our young people, asylum seekers and refugees are the future of Wales. We must create an environment where individuals can nurture their talents, fuel their passion and blossom into the fullest forms of themselves to contribute towards the society."

- Debanjali Bhattacharjee, Team Member for BAME Helpline Wales, EYST (Ethnic Minorities and Youth Support Team, workshop participant, June 2021)

I designed and facilitated a three horizons workshop, supporting participants to prioritise six ideas for action that the voluntary sector in Wales can take to achieve the vision:

  • Support inclusion and fairness of access to technology and help overcome the digital divide

  • Redefine what success means and how social impact and value is measured

  • Grow local, international and cross-sector collaboration that raises the voluntary sector profile and builds on a positive narrative

  • Support genuine co-production and co-delivery of community-centric infrastructure

  • Empower individuals and communities to be self-sufficient

  • Learn and build on what worked effectively for the voluntary sector and communities in the pandemic, to strengthen the voluntary sector and wider society

These were translated into strategic goals for WCVA, so they could orient towards what the community wanted.



The impact of this work has been very significant and exceeded expectations, from an individual and organisational to systemic level

The radical vision acts as a paradigm shifting North star. This exercise successfully directed WCVA and the Third Sector Support Wales's 5-year strategic reviews, for instance leading to diversity and equity being integral in the strategy due to participant input. The goals will trigger action that will have positive impact on interconnected issues from social and economic to environmental.

Power dynamics with WCVA’s membership shifted to be more democratic due to the quality of listening and mutual learning I facilitated. For example, greater integration of member's wishes, and emphasis on equity and diversity in the new strategy. All 20 County Voluntary Councils in Wales rapidly adopted the strategy. The public report has been instrumental in educating policymakers in Welsh Governmen, public and voluntary sector actors.

The approach resulted in relationship building, new networks for change and cultural shifts within WCVA and TSSW that will have a lasting positive impact in and beyond the organisation.

"The attentive space for listening held by Eloise during participation (equal time spent with volunteers in local neighbourhoods, to service delivery managers, and business entrepreneurs) was regarded as one of the strengths of the process and was seen as an opportunity to ‘refresh and re-set’ during very pressing day-to-day operations."

- Suzanne Iuppa, WCVA Strategic Planning Officer

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