Yunus Near Future Lab​

The Yunus Near Future Lab is an education, technology transfer and resource mobilization initiative that will  produce high quality events, research and publications, investable SDG-aligned solutions and policy advancements in order to support the development of the Industrial Revolution 4.0.

The Near Future Lab

Together with Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Prof. Muhammad Yunus and the Asian Institute of Technology, SDGx has launched the Yunus Near Future Lab at the 2019 United Nations General Assembly in New York.

The Yunus Near Future Lab operates between traditional long-term academic research studies and short-term development of current solutions to build the bridge between what can happen in the present and what ‘may’ happen in the future – academic grade foresight and scenarios based on researched evidence.

Focusing on the near future (2-7 years) instills agility and ensures relevance into mid-term policy development, VC investment strategy, founder/entrepreneur insight and innovation where capacities and understanding are most required.

The Yunus Center network reaches across 70+ top level universities, supported by Yunus Social Business Initiatives, Grameen Creative Labs and Corporate Action Tanks in 50 countries.

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Yunus Social Business Centre

A unique partnership architecture focusing on investing in the positive impact of deep technology​

The Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) is also converging with other mega-trends, including Smart City development, rapid demographic transition, labor automation, digital transformations, health technology advances and growing consequences of climate change.

This convergence is pushing countries to fundamentally reconsider and adapt existing arrangements between governments, private sector, multilateral development agencies and citizens. 

Why would these stakeholders commission independent research from the Yunus Near Future Lab?

We have created the Yunus Near Future Lab to work with all stakeholders to identify a non-political, non-agenda pathway to identify the ‘weak signals’ in public, private, and civic sector behavior that promotes sustainable value for the future. Therefore, near future research evokes the notion of early instances about phenomena that may become ‘actionable’ in the future. Doing future research is not just about spotting trends, it’s also about creating one’s own futures by amplifying certain signals.
Corporatre & Private Sector
Corporations are being challenged from all sides of the equation to shift towards a sustainable capitalism business model. Shareholders are seeking to invest in sustainable business models that follow ESG principles. Consumers are leaning towards environmentally safe products and services. Governments are designing policy that supports the circular economy and renewable/reusable waste. Activists and civic society are developing clear messages and are becoming experts in social media communications. Corporations are seeking to leverage new innovations that produce positive social impact.
Governments and Public Sector
are seeking policy innovations that maximize the social and economic benefits of next generation technologies to successfully implement their digital economy, Industrial Revolution 4.0, Smart City and other digital transformation programs.  They are also seeking to support future-proofed sector development to help their economies compete in a global marketplace.
Donors and Multilateral Institutions 
are seeking bolder, innovative and more sustainable solutions that leverage robust business models to scale positive impact.
Investors and Family Offices
are seeking to understand the 'mathematics' of positive social impact and how they can compliment standard financial KPIs in order to develop successful investment philosophies that include blended and inclusive finance options.
Founders and Entrepreneurs
are seeking near term technology intelligence to identify viable technology transfer opportunities to support the growth and scale of their start-ups and SMEs.

The impact of technology is never neutral.

It all depends on the direct intention and the indirect consequences. This indirect ‘ripple effect’ is often not seen immediately and it often changes over time.

The Yunus Near Future Lab can be commissioned to design and execute multi-disciplinary research to identify the positive and negative effects of technology on society, environment and the economy.

We develop scenarios that provide a glimpse into the near future so that policy makers, economic players, cultural institutions, media organizations and the civil society can be better informed about sustainable ways to shape our future.

Disruptive technologies entering the market in 3-8 years.

How society embraces and adapts to the coming technological changes will determine the sustainability of our current economic and social models as well as whether we are able to meet the promise of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

Technology is neither good nor bad - nor is it neutral.

Melvin Kranzberg

Yunus Near Future Lab Dialogues

A multi-stakeholder ‘capacity building’ fellowship program designed as a new partner dialogue architecture to ‘connect the dots of knowledge and expertise’ to ‘think out loud’ and explore opportunities.

The Yunus Near Future Lab Dialogues partners with world-class ‘think-tanks’, technology companies and academic institutions to create a research and development fellow exchange program.


Additional value for under-graduate and graduate students to a) increase their understanding of the near future trends and applications of next-gen technology and b) identify potential internship and/or employment opportunities.

Upskilling as well as develop new knowledge and professional collaboration networks.

Increase network status and credibility that may attract financial resources, academic relationships and a roster of high-quality ‘market based’ guest lecturers.

Engage multisectoral stakeholders in order to identify exponential and disruptive technology trends and leverage the membership for policy innovations that can produce both social and economic value.
Yunus Social Business Centre
After receiving the Nobel Peace Prize in 2006, Prof. Muhammad Yunus established the Yunus Center in Dhaka Bangladesh to develop and accelerate the spread of pro poor social business models and technologies to address critical challenges. In 2009, the first university based Yunus Center was established as a collaboration between Prof Yunus and the Asian Institute of Technology (AIT). This academia based network now spans leading institutions across all continents, including MIT, HEC Paris, HEC Montreal, EPFL Lausanne, NUS Singapore, Renmin Beijing, and many more.
Near Future Lab - Elementor
AIT is an international post-graduate research university established in 1959 as an inter-governmental body hosted by the Thai government with students and faculty from over 30 countries. Recognized for its programs in engineering, advanced technologies, sustainable development, business management and environmental planning. AIT alumni work in the public and private sector throughout the region and with some of the top universities in the world AIT hosts the Yunus Center, the first collaboration of its kind by Nobel Laureate Prof. Muhammad Yunus to promote ‘pro-poor technologies’ and enterprise solutions for sustainable development.

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