The New Framework of Change


Our world is defined more and more by change – fast, disruptive change – which affects every sector and social issue. People on the move are no exception: although migration and refugee movements have been present throughout history, these movements happen more quickly and require new responses. We have analyzed and worked with leading innovators around the world in migration, integration and refugee movements to identify key trends that appear in the most successful solutions.

What we have observed is the emergence of a new framework: keys to successfully designing solutions to systemic issues that underlie how we welcome, care for and provide access to full citizenship for people on the move.

These can be structured around three major categories:




In this framework, people on the move are no longer perceived as helpless objects of pity, but rather as resourceful changemakers, eager to contribute to their communities.

  1. Initiatives actively include immigrants and refugees into design and leadership processes from the very beginning. They ensure people on the move feel safe and confident to contribute, and that those in power listen to them as the most qualified experts.
    • Example: Daniel Kerber from More Than Shelters involves refugees in their own shelter design and development.
  2. Host communities’ participation is sought after and valued, and they see their role as changemakers in providing a welcoming space for new neighbors.
    • Example: Welcoming International works with municipalities to help them see their role in becoming a welcoming community. 




These initiatives intentionally provide ways for empathy to be fostered in both host communities as well as for people on the move.

  1. Permanent and intentional spaces are provided for host community members and newcomers to interact at equal levels.
    • Example: Singa provides spaces where newcomers interact with host community members around shared passions. 
  2. Change is achieved through storytelling and life experience is valued to help turn traumatic experiences into resilience.
    • Example: IPSO Contexts counseling methodology builds on people’s strengths and stories to build resilience, rather than labelling their trauma as a sickness. 
  3. Shared purpose and community is created by understanding each others’ context, pains and dreams.
    • Example: Third Age connects the elderly with newcomers through language classes, using the encounter to build empathy-driven relationships and break down prejudice and fear. 
  4. Diversity is seen as a resource, not a problem.
    • Example: Upwardly Global / Migration Ventures helps companies understand their need for high skilled workers from refugee and migrant backgrounds through data and a proven track-record of success. 




The challenges that emerge from massive movements of people across borders cannot be solved by one actor or the status quo. It is essential to build new spaces for collaborative thinking across sectors.

  1. All stakeholders involved need to meet in collaborative spaces to find shared problems and new collaborative solutions.