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New Economics Foundation (nef)

The UK-based New Economics Foundation, or “nef,” is an independent think-and-do tank that inspires and demonstrates real economic well-being. We aim to improve quality of life by promoting innovative solutions that challenge mainstream thinking on economic, environment and social issues. We work in partnership and put people and the planet first.

nef was founded in 1986 by the leaders of The Other Economic Summit (TOES) which forced issues such as international debt onto the agenda of the G7 and G8 summits. We are unique in combining rigorous analysis and policy debate with practical solutions on the ground, often run and designed with the help of local people. We also create new ways of measuring progress towards increased well-being and environmental sustainability.

nef works with all sections of society in the UK and internationally – civil society, government, individuals, businesses and academia – to create more understanding and strategies for change.

nef works on specific project areas through practical pilots and tools for change, in-depth research, campaigning, policy discussion. nef uses a variety of processes, including Appreciative Inquiry (which they call “Imagine”).  Below are descriptions of nef’s Imagine efforts and several examples of their work and what they have been able to accomplish.

– Imagine is fun and energising
– Telling stories about when things have worked, and exploring the learning from this experience is a change from the problem-focused approach many of us are used to. One participant in a recent Imagine project remarked about the appreciative approach, “When we get together we normally don’t talk like this – it was very refreshing.”
– Imagine is highly participative
– People within the organisation or community develop and choose the appreciative questions, hold the conversations, and use the stories to develop their preferred future. This means that the process is “done by” rather than “done to”. A participant speaking at the end of the Imagine visioning process for Ryedale’s Community Plan said “People know that their input has been valued, which has made it more enjoyable”.
– Imagine is good for linking people who don’t normally meet
– By using an appreciative approach to questioning, Imagine conversations encourage people to seek out and understand the common ground as opposed to encouraging them to defend territories. This helps the transfer of knowledge and simultaneously builds relationships.
– Imagine works equally well for organisations as community groups

Geographic Focus: United Kingdom

Resource Link: www.neweconomics.org

Contact: info@neweconomics.org, 020 7820 6300

Address: 3 Jonathan Street, London, England SE11 5NH

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