Photo by Felipe Brayner on Unsplash
Tenemos Que Hablar de Chile and Reos Partners invite Chileans to rethink the future of their country.
In 2019, the country of Chile experienced the most significant period of political and social unrest in recent history. An increase in metro fare was the tipping point, leading to a significant public debate throughout the country, as well as riots, violence, and general upheaval. In response, two prominent universities, the University of Chile and the Catholic University, came together to launch Tenemos Que Hablar de Chile, a collaborative citizen advocacy platform that is driving a massive conversation about the future of Chilean society. To date, more than 15,000 people from the country have participated.
Since April 2020, Tenemos Que Hablar de Chile has organized a series of unique opportunities for Chileans to join the conversation. Their methodology seeks to establish a space for exchanging ideas and systematizing what Chileans want for the country’s future. Tenemos Que Hablar de Chile contracted Reos Partners to launch Chile to 2030: Future Scenarios. Using Transformative Scenario Planning (TSP), pioneered by Reos Partners director Adam Kahane, Reos and Tenemos Que Hablar de Chile imagined possible futures for the country drawing from conversations with a diverse array of civilians. The four scenarios were presented publicly to the nation on March 31, 2022.
Here, Reos Partners Project Lead Gerardo Marquez and Tenemos Que Hablar de Chile Deputy Director Valentina Rosas share details about the groundbreaking project, the innovative methodology, and their hope for its impact on the country and its people.
Tenemos Que Hablar de Chile uses an array of methodologies to invite conversation with Chileans across the country. The Chile to 2030: Future Scenarios project is a bit different. Can you explain why it was initiated and how Reos Partners became involved?
VR: Chile is in the midst of an important historical political time—we are in a constitutional process and have one of the most progressive governments since the end of the dictatorship. In policies and social issues, things are changing a lot. We were paying too much attention to what was happening right now and realized that we should be looking forward.
When we look to the future, we realize there is not just one answer—it is necessary to have a conversation about the options for the future of Chile. We needed tools to have this conversation in an organized, helpful way. When we learned of Reos Partners’ work in Colombia using Transformative Scenarios Planning, we immediately realized that we needed to do something similar. Working with Reos was a perfect match.
How does Transformative Scenario Planning work, and why was it ideal for this initiative?
GM: Implementing the Transformative Scenarios Planning methodology, we provided a process for people to build a shared understanding of their current reality. We coordinated a diverse group of people for the project. Together, they looked at different factors to identify what is likely to remain in the future and what are the most significant uncertainties. We then created narratives and four possible outcomes based on this information.
What was the goal of the scenario planning?
GM: The objective of this work was to create a tool that allows Chileans to have conversations about how they can shape the country’s future. At this moment, a group called the Convención Constitutional is working toward writing a new constitution for the country. One of the purposes of this project is to present these scenarios as a tool to think about how this constitution can be resilient across the four possible futures the country faces.
VR: Our main goal was to have more than just a conversation. The scenarios provide us with a product that can be useful for the people of the country, the authorities, and the social and political leaders. This set of possible futures provides new perspectives and allows us to do something together to impact the political debate.
What was the experience like working together on this groundbreaking initiative?
VR: Partnering with Reos was challenging at first because it was our first time using a partner’s methodology, not ours. But in the end, the experience opened our minds as an organization to embrace other perspectives and new ways of achieving our work. The team at Reos Partners is very organized and easy to work with. The most important thing is we share the same goals.
GM: Working on this project has been a phenomenal learning experience. Tenemos Que Hablar de Chile’s mission aligns with Reos’—together, we’ve offered Chileans the opportunity to visualize the future they want for their country.
You convened a diverse group of stakeholders for this project. Can you describe this process? How were the stakeholders selected, and why was diversity important?
GM: We worked together to cast a vast network, considering who has distinct points of view that reflect the country’s diversity. They were diverse in multiple domains and held various roles within Chilean society, including academics, business leaders, journalists, activists, athletes, NGOs, youth, and more.
VR: We were thinking about profiles, the type of leaders we wanted to include—everyone from environmental activists to CEOs of both big companies and startups. Chile is a very centralized country, so we wanted to bring in people from different regions of the country, too. The participants had never met each other before but soon realized things they had in common. They were grateful to be a part of the conversation.
What did you learn from seeing the scenarios that Reos Partners produced? What surprised you about them? How have the people of Chile reacted?
VR: The scenarios propose a lot of challenges. Three of the scenarios illustrate paths I don’t want for the country. At the same time, I believe they are very possible. If we don’t take action, things we don’t want to happen will happen. It was very eye-opening to realize. Most people’s reaction to this has been, “what can I do to influence this?”
What are the next steps?
VR: We’ve just shared the scenarios publicly, so they are only now being reviewed by the public. People need time to read, process, and consider what they can do about what we’ve presented. Our goal was always to initiate different conversations, and that is happening. The conversation we have started is continuing and deepening. We are trying to organize with political parties. So far, we’ve received a positive response. They find this interesting and feel it can be helpful. We’re looking forward to many more conversations with them.
What is your hope for the future of Chile? How might this project help achieve that?
VR: I hope to foster a more collaborative country. Collaboration has its challenges, but I believe it’s worth it. We can do more if we work together. It is important to acknowledge the different realities we have, the different points of view. In Chile, we normally say we have to put our differences aside. I don’t want to do that. I want to put our differences in the center and work with them. My hope is that this project can help us recognize and appreciate the country’s rich diversity.
Valentina Rosas is the Deputy Director at Tenemos que Hablar de Chile. She oversees the implementation of the project at the national level, supporting the organization’s mission to invite conversations about the future of Chile.
Gerardo Marquez is a Consultant at Reos Partners and the Project Lead for Chile to 2030: Future Scenarios. His technical knowledge and lens on systemic change have allowed him to work successfully in the global energy, environment, and innovation sectors. He is passionate about building capacity in others to address the complex societal and environmental issues we collectively face.