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Searchlight across the globe

'Horizon Scan' -- the newsletter of Searchlight Southern Africa

March 2014 Southern Africa Searchlight



  • Fostering complexity thinking: How to go from reductionist thinking to action based complexity research
  • What is the role of manufacturing in boosting economic growth and employment
  • ‘Well-off’ citizens do their bit for the poor
  • Large-scale agricultural investments under poor land governance in Zambia
  • New southern African project on natural resource governance
  • A resilient contract with the ancestors in Madagascar
  • How urban farming benefits young people
  • Cape Town water demand below peak level
  • A new centre for investigative environmental journalism
  • Using public art as a way to fund and improve public spaces
  • 14 really cool African tech start-ups worth watching in 2014
  • Text messages aim to save lives in flood-prone African areas



Scanning for a Brighter Future: Report from the 2012 Searchlight Workshop

This workshop report highlights the creative findings and ideas that emerged from the latest annual Searchlight gathering that brought together representatives from the participating organizations and a small group of foresight experts. The goal of this week-long workshop, held in the New York City area, was to identify novel ways of framing the critical problems facing poor and vulnerable populations in two particular subject matter domains, livelihoods and urbanization. As the report indicates, it was a lively, dynamic, and energetic conversation touching on a wide range of intersecting topics, from suggesting new ways for individuals, young and old, to get involved in improving their urban communities to considering how to improve the flow of capital from diaspora populations back to their home countries. Using visioning exercises, graphic facilitation techniques, and scenario-like storytelling, the meeting demonstrated how imaginative individuals from different backgrounds can come together to generate new insights that connect the dots and weave together a rich mosaic of themes and patterns.


About Searchlight Southern Africa

  • Horizon or environmental scanning is the job of Searchlight Southern Africa, another South Africa Node initiative.
  • Searchlight Southern Africa is a horizon scanning and trend monitoring service for globalisation-related issues in the Southern African region.
  • Ten countries are included in the project's scope: Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. Countries beyond this group of ten are considered, too, when relevant.
  • Funded by the Rockefeller Foundation, it contributes to the Rockefeller Foundation’s international Searchlight initiative.
  • What the project does:
    • Monitors journals, newspapers, books, grey literature and e-texts in, from and about the region.
    • Aggregates trend information on a monthly basis.
    • Shares this knowledge with futurists' networks.
    • Tracks trends that include:
      • Poverty.
      • Development and donors.
      • Economics.
      • Politics.
      • Environment.
      • Social development.
      • Science, technology and innovation.

Searchlight across the globe

Searchlight Southern Africa, an initiative of the Rockefeller Foundation being implemented by the South Africa Node of the Millennium Project, is part of a global network. See the editorial article “Why Foresight?” published in Intellecap’s Beyond Profit magazine for a description of the Searchlight function and the importance of pro-poor foresight.

Searchlight across the globe


See other documents from the Searchlight Project:

North Africa & Middle East

Learn more about horizon scanning

"We need a better understanding of the present, not just the future, and for that reason horizon scanning is a sense-making tool for understanding better the complexity of the present and also the future," says Tanja Hichert, scenario planning practitioner and futurist, and owner-director of Hichert and Associates.

Here are useful links to information about horizon scanning:

  • A presentation on horizon scanning from a research methods festival in Oxford.
  • From Shaping Tomorrow, a practical foresight guide.
  • An example of how horizon scanning is used for thinking critically about the UK's jobs market of tomorrow.
  • The South Africa Node of the Millennium Project's 2010 presentation on horizon scanning, the Searchlight Project and futures research.

Contact Searchlight Southern Africa

You can get hold of Searchlight Southern Africa in the following ways:

  • Email: Click on this link to open an online email form -- and Tanja Hichert, from Hichert and Associates Pty (Ltd), will get back to you.
  • Landline: +27 21 8555 839.
  • Mobile: +27 82 576 6429.

Get involved

Futurologists, scenario planners, futurists -- experienced and enthusiastic -- who want to contribute to Searchlight Southern Africa should get hold of Tanja Hichert by email.


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