Increasingly, and in 2008 in particular, the Forum deliberations have taken concrete questions as entry points into the discussions, designing the process around the objective of generating insights among participants and concrete ideas for them to act upon. The goal for 2009 was to stimulate open, explorative and action-oriented conversations to develop ideas and to prototype possible designs for the future, in five crucial areas:
Track 1 - the Planet (ecosystems and climate): What is science telling us about the limits set by nature to human activities?
Track 2 - The Economy (including finance and business): Which economic models, what kind of economic thinking, and which business models can help the world’s economies, financial system and value-creation in general to thrive within the planetary boundaries?
Track 3 – Technology/Energy: What kind of thinking with regard to technology should we adopt in order to remain within the planetary boundaries?
Track 4 – Learning/Education: What kind of learning, what system of education, must be developed to keep us within the boundaries, and what kind of knowledge (or cognitive base) is necessary for this?
Track 5 – Governance/Security: As a consequence of the conversations in the other four tracks, what systems of global governance systems are best suited to the task of maintaining human activity within the boundaries set by nature?
For each area, a specific preparatory process was designed together with specific partners that provided both knowledge and contacts. Special papers were commissioned and discussed at preparatory workshops. In many respects, the work builded on past years’ Forums, especially since 2006. The strategy of inviting existing processes to bring their agendas and questions to the Forum has proven very successful. For instance, the 2008 Forum invited all or parts of the Swedish government’s Commission on Climate Change and Development, the WHO Commission on the Social Determinants of Health, of the Global Energy Assessment (with IIASA and others). All these utilized the Forum in their own work. This strategy was continued and expanded for 2009. In particular, the “Rework the world” process was an important component of the Forum.