Research agenda 2022

The Thinking Ahead Institute’s purpose is to mobilise capital for a more sustainable tomorrow. And it is our mission to achieve systemic change across the investment industry through innovation that creates long-term value for all our stakeholders. This is particularly true for our members, and we believe joining a study or research working group is one of the best ways to both derive value and contribute to change. It is also one of the best ways to engage with other Institute members. All working groups are run twice to accommodate different time zones.

In 2022 we are planning two main research working groups and one project and there are more details below. The main topics cover sustainable investment, organisational development and team work, all embedded in a foundation of deep systems thinking. If you or a colleague are interested in joining, please email

Watch our member research briefing to learn more.

Investing for tomorrow research stream, phase 2

A sustainable tomorrow is about as ‘thinking ahead’ as you can get and, we believe, a meaningful way to serve the needs of the end saver. We are likely to be working on sustainability for a number of years yet.

The IFT working group’s focus in 2021 was on climate change, in which they created a framework for asset owners to establish and set a pathway to achieve their climate ambitions.

The output was a six-step, net-zero action plan, described in five papers; with a sixth paper developed by a sub-group focusing on climate beliefs.

In phase two this year, the working group will consist of two sub-groups:

  • The Environment sub-group will address the main question: “What does halving of emissions by 2030 mean?”
  • The Society sub-group will discuss and agree a focus on either ‘just transition’, ‘inequality’, ‘ethics’ or ‘the erosion of social cohesion’.

Time commitment, cadence and starting date:

Environment sub-group:

  • 3 topics, 3 calls each (total of 13.5 hours, plus some pre-reading and reviewing)
  • Second Thursday of the month starting Thursday 10 February

Society sub-group:

  • 3 topics, 3 calls each (total of 13.5 hours, plus some pre-reading and reviewing)
  • Fourth Thursday of the month starting Thursday 24 February

Both sub-groups are open to all members. You can explore further papers by the IFT working group on our sustainability hub.

Investment organisation of tomorrow research stream, phase 2

In the Institute we see progress on sustainability as intrinsically intertwined with organisational development. Our organisations need to be fit for the future.

In 2021 this working group built the case for transformation change within organisations to deal effectively with the issues facing them (including climate change and sustainability more broadly).

In 2022 we’ll look at how best to implement the required transformational change; in particular, how to deliver a sustainable investment organisation in future.

Time commitment, cadence and starting date:

  • 7 calls (total of 10.5 hours, plus some pre-reading and reviewing)
  • Monthly on the last Thursday of the month, beginning Thursday 31 March

The working group is aimed at C-suite individuals and has a heavy bias to asset owners. We therefore cannot promise that space will be available, but please do let us know if your organisation would like to be involved.

The Power of Teams (TPOT) global project

For the last three years we have run annual studies, comprising culture assessments of participating investment organisations, to research the power of culture. Where the focus has been to explore its role in empowering leadership to effect successful organisational change in a rapidly evolving world; accelerated by sustainability imperatives, social dynamics and a new world of work.

For 2022 we’ll focus on the related but distinct subject of teamwork. Teams are the primary unit of value creation in investment organisations through diversity, cognitive diversity and collective intelligence. In a shift of knowledge and power from the individual to the collective, the industry has developed a dependency on these teams’ collective intelligence. However, there needs to be more focus on the important dynamics of teamwork and team thought to develop superteams that are able to deliver exceptional accomplishments and outcomes.

The study will give participating organisations an assessment, toolkits and the opportunity to better understand how to elevate their teams into Superteams. It also gives us a new acronym: TPOT.

Time commitment, duration and starting date:

  • Members’ leadership teams should expect to commit an hour or two on pre-reading and the survey and several hours for the workshop. The duration of the assessment process is around one month
  • The project has started and will run through to July. TAI culture assessments are still available throughout the year

If your organisation would like to take part in this study, please let us know.

To register interest or join a working group,

2021 research agenda
2022 event agenda
How to make the most of your membership – strategic member engagement sessions
Watch member research briefing recording

Member research briefing recording

We hosted two member research briefings in January to engage you, our members, on the shape and direction of the research and describe the working groups which will start from February. View the presentation deck and recording below.

View presentation deck