The Future We Made: Birmingham and West Midlands Future Proofing Toolkit

The aim

The aim of the project is develop products that will help our local public sector and business leaders improve their policies and practices to deal with future uncertainties and build a better future for their organisations and the city and region they operate within.

The scope

The audience is chief executives, councillors, and senior decision-makers of medium to large public, private, and voluntary sector organisations with significant operations and assets in the city and wider region.

The focus will be on Birmingham and surrounding travel to work areas including the Greater Birmingham and Solihull LEP area. The wider West Midlands covered by the 5 other LEPs will also be referred to where relevant as part of the wider networked economic geography. This approach will help with the application to a greater number of local businesses and organisations that are important for Greater Birmingham, but have significant operations across the West Midlands. This also helps build a wider range of stakeholders and funders for the future support of the programme.

The products

  • Toolkit: Birmingham and West Midlands Future Proofing Toolkit – a checklist of 20 drivers of uncertainty and shared local economic, social and environmental goals for 2020,2040 and 2060.
  • Guide: How to use the futures toolkit for your annual business strategy away day session – slides pack and exercises suitable for a half day meeting or exercise.

The partners

The project is led by SWM and funded by the Government Office for Science. Initial supporting partners in terms of project development, stakeholder engagement and expertise include Birmingham City Council, Greater Birmingham and Solihull LEP, University of Birmingham, Aston University, and Midcounties Cooperative. Additional SWM members and partners that are offering support include Centro, Climate Knowledge Innovation Centre, JLR, Severn Trent, Zurich Insurance, Caterpillar, Climate UK, and the Environment Agency.

The timetable

Between September and November 2014 a steering group was establish, research conducted, a stakeholder workshop held and the draft products further developed and tested, including  at our annual conference. Then support will be agreed for the testing and use of the toolkit over the next year with an annual update of good practice and new issues at our next annual conference.

Further information

Look at the downloads at the end of this page, the project updates below, or contact us on or call 0121 237 5890.

Project updates

3/9/14 – Birmingham City Council have continued to inform and build a local network of stakeholders to contribute to a workshop in October. This has included the five local universities, the University of Birmingham Urban Living research group (summary report below), the Centre for Economic Geographical Research, University of Cambridge, and local council officers and BIS representatives. A research intern is helping to gather some of the local city futures literature.

4/9/14 – SWM are setting up a steering group, chaired by Peter Braithwaite (SWM / University of Birmingham) and with key users of the product (Local authority chief executive / senior policy maker, cabinet member, business representatives, academic futures adviser). SWM will also be seeking to interview local and national stakeholders to update the previous futures work for the wider region.

21/10/14 – Workshop with Birmingham City Council and SWM and stakeholders to test some draft outputs and ideas.

Further workshops, research, and testing with stakeholders.

1/7/15 -F inal report and toolkit published

7/9/15 – National dissemination event held with other projects and blog published on foresight website about the project.


Link to WM Futures report – 2006
Background – briefing on WM futures tools- May7-14
Project proposal – external summary 22-7-14
Birmingham Policy Commission Future Urban Living Summary Report – 2014
Futures Stakeholder Workshop – October 2014
Link to Final Report and Toolkit – July 2015
Link to Blog on Foresight Website – September 2015