Six pillars: futures thinking for transforming

by Sohail Inayatullah


Sohail Inayatullah is a Professor at the Graduate Institute of Futures Studies, Tamkang University, Taiwan and the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, University of the Sunshine Coast, Maroochydore, Australia.

Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to present a new approach to the study of the future.
Design/methodology/approach – The paper describes six foundational concepts (the used future, the disowned future, alternative futures, alignment, models of social change, and uses of the future), six questions (will, fear, missing, alternatives, wish, and next steps as related to the future) and six pillars (mapping, anticipating, timing, deepening, creating alternatives, and transforming), giving examples and case studies where appropriate. 
Findings – In an increasingly complex and heterogeneous world, futures studies can help people to recover their agency, and help them to create the world in which they wish to live. 
Originality/value – The paper integrates and builds on a variety of futures studies’ concepts, ways of  thinking and techniques and integrates them into a new approach.  Keywords Social dynamics, Epistemology, Change management, Economic change, Forward planning.
Paper type - Conceptual paper.