Questioning the Future:
Methods and Tools for Organizational and Societal Transformation
Tamsui and Taipei, Tamkang University, 2005
isbn 986-7385-11-X 243 pages, paperback
This is the second edition of Questioning the Future. It includes
new chapters on
Aging Futures, Transport Futures, Case studies in Anticipatory
Action Learning, Using Macrohistory to Understand the Next 1000
years, Teaching Futures Studies, and much more.
How can anticipatory action learning help organizations create
What are the limits to strategic planning and scenario planning?
How can causal layered analysis unveil the future and create more
effective public policy?
How can the study of grand patterns of social change help in
understanding the future?
These and other questions on the nature of futures studies,
future-oriented policy making, organizational and societal
transformation are explored in this book.
Along with chapters on foundational concepts, theories and methods
in Futures Studies, Questioning the Future is a practical workbook
for the manager or social activist who desires to use the future to
change the present.
The book is divided into two parts. Chapters in Part one are
focused: (1) The Study of the Future; (2) Teaching Futures Studies,
(3) Macrohistory and Grand Patterns of Change; (4) Causal Layered
Analysis, (5) Communicating futures in Cross-cultural environments,
(6) Futures Generations thinking and (7) Trends in Futures Studies.
Chapters in Part are focused on: (1) Using the Future to Transform
Organizations; (2) Tips and Pitfalls of the Futures Studies Trade;
(3) Action Learning and Futures Studies; (4) Layered Questioning;
(4) Creating a Learning Organization and Healing Organization; (5)
Implementing Futures; and (6) Questions and Answers for the Busy
Associate, an imaginary conversation with a bottom-line oriented
Over 40 pages of appendices provide bullet point illustrations of
approaches and methods in Futures Studies.
COMMENTS ON THE FIRST EDITION
"Questioning the Future is a significant contribution to the
Future Studies literature and usefully makes available Inayatullah's
key works, both theoretical and practical. It will therefore be of
enormous value to both students and practitioners alike."
Richard Slaughter, President World Futures Studies Federation,
Foundation Professor of Foresight, AFI.
"Questioning the Future gives organisations and individuals a
step by step guide in assisting them create alternative futures the
21st century is demanding. Sohail Inayatullah has taken the major
futures methodologies including his own such as Causal
LayeredAnalysis and put them into one book that is a must for all
strategists, CEOs and senior executives in both the public and
Robert Burke, Program Director, Mt Eliza Centre for Executive
Education, Melbourne Business School
"In the best practice of action learning, Questioning the Future is
both a practical guide to Futures Studies, and a theoretical
introduction. In Questioning the Future Sohail Inayatullah presents
techniques to guide organizations and communities beyond their
immediate everyday problems towards a clearer articulation of their
ideas and plans for a better future. Of particular value is the
analysis of trends in futures studies from the reductionist to the
complex. Groups, in working creatively together for their own future
benefit, are also part of a wider constituency for future change.
Questioning the Future guides readers through both the excitement,
and the difficulties, of creating the futures-oriented learning
organization, and the future(s)."
Rosaleen Love, Science Fiction Author.
"This book outlines the discipline of Future Studies with
uncommon clarity. Inayatullah's careful explanations of the skills
necessary for the craft makes Questioning the Future an essential
reference for both students and practitioners"
Laurence Brown, Senior Researcher, Social & Behavioural Sciences,
University of Queensland.
"An excellent resource"
Brisbane Catholic Education
"I highly recommend Questioning the Future"
Andy Hines, University of Houston, Clear-Lake. Former Ideational
Leader, Dow Chemical.
"After facilitating Strategic Planning within Queensland State &
Local Governments for several years, Questioning the Future has
significantly opened my mind, images and thoughts as to how shallow
existing strategic planning processes are, and why they fail to
deliver. Inayatullahs' approaches provide deep insight into
methodologies that can truly transform,individuals, processes and
futures. This book is essential to those individuals and
organisations who want to make a difference and create alternative
Australian Local Shire Council
"Questioning the Future represents a new synthesis in futures
thinking. Bringing into futures studies disciplines such as action
research, futures generations research, organizational development,
critical theory, civilisational studies, macro-history and
complexity science, Inayatullah is inclusive of the many traditions,
the many patterns, and the dynamic holism emerging in the futures
field. This book is at the cross-roads where new pathways to
alternative futures will be created in the 21st century"
Jose M. Ramos
Swinburne University, Melbourne, Australia.
"Helpful and Useful!"
Murray May, School of Social Ecology and Lifelong Learning,
University of Western Sydney, Sydney, Australia
I used the section on "Trajectories into the Future" as the basis
for a coaching session with a manager snowed under in a new role...
I found your workshop on Futures profound and life-changing. My
notes and your book won't stay on the shelf like much workshop
material, they keep leaping into my head, heart and hands…
At a personal level we have taken some major steps towards our
preferred future and with a lot more confidence than we had earlier.
I'm also looking for starting to find ways of incorporating your
ideas and approaches in to my work as a management and
Workshop Participants, compiled by Alan Fricker, President,
Sustainable Futures Trust, New Zealand
"Futures researcher and educator Sohail Inayatullah has compiled
a valuable overview of the methods, theories, and concepts
underlying the study of the future. In addition to a comprehensive
annotated bibliography, the author has provided some 40 pages of
appendices outlining the main approaches to studying the future, key
methods in forecasting, and more. Intended as a practical workbook
for managers and social activists, this text is likely to find
greater use in the classroom as an introduction to futures studies."
The Futurist (May-June, 2003)
"Questioning The Future is extremely interesting. I believe it is
the best short introduction to the field I have seen."
Joseph Edozein, Cyberneticist, Anderson Business Consulting, and
formerly Xerox PARC
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