To read this content please select one of the options below:

Transitional foresight: MLP as the theoretical underpinning of CLA: the case of the water sector of Iran

Tahereh Miremadi (Iranian Research Organization for Science and Technology, Tehran, Iran)


ISSN: 1463-6689

Article publication date: 26 February 2021

Issue publication date: 13 July 2021




The paper aims to complement the six pillars analysis with the multi-level perspective to make it more systematic and policy relevant.


Take the innovation system foresight as the exemplar; the paper asks if the other systemic approaches to innovation can function as the middle range theory and underpin critical future studies. To answer, the paper combines the six-pillar approach (SPA) with the multilevel perspective (MLP) and builds “transitional foresight”. Then it takes the fourth pillar; transitional causal layered analysis and applies it to a case study: water stress in Iran. The paper concludes noting that in transitional foresight, the borderlines, the players and the orientations of the foresight are clearer than the six-pillar analysis.


The SPA and MLP-integrated framework make a powerful research instrument for transitional foresight.

Research limitations/implications

The paper applied the integrated framework to a case “water system in Iran”. But the framework should be applied in different cases in different countries to test its applicability.

Practical implications

The suggested framework can be used as a heuristics for the students and researchers who want to engage with the emancipatory perspective of the six-pillar approach and need to have an academic methodology with rigor and granularity.


The six-pillar approach of Sohail Inayatullah and the multilevel perspective of Geels can combine to make a powerful heuristic for transitional foresight.



Miremadi, T. (2021), "Transitional foresight: MLP as the theoretical underpinning of CLA: the case of the water sector of Iran", Foresight, Vol. 23 No. 4, pp. 385-402.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2020, Emerald Publishing Limited

Related articles