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Article
Publication date: 13 January 2020

Alessandro Fergnani

The purpose of this paper is to introduce the Futures Triangle 2.0, a methodological advancement of the Futures Triangle method (Inayatullah, 2008), which better…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to introduce the Futures Triangle 2.0, a methodological advancement of the Futures Triangle method (Inayatullah, 2008), which better integrates the original method with Scenario Planning by visually representing scenarios against the three dimensions of the Triangle, i.e. pulls, pushes and weights.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper explains the theoretical rationale behind the creation of the method, outlines the steps required to use it in a futures workshop or in a futures research project with a step-by-step procedure and reports a case study of its application in practice.

Findings

The Futures Triangle 2.0 encourages a deliberate and systematic discussion on the three dimensions of the Futures Triangle in each scenario and on whether scenarios differ in these attributes. The method allows the foresight researcher/practitioner to capture the valuable tensions between weights on the past on one hand and pushes of the present/pulls of the futures on the other hand, and to make sure that the scenarios differ substantially in these three attributes.

Originality/value

The method integrates the Futures Triangle and Scenario Planning in an intuitive, easily reproducible and visually pleasant graphical procedure.

Details

foresight, vol. 22 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1463-6689

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 13 April 2015

Shermon O. Cruz

The purpose of this paper is to provide a critical and informative exploration of the emerging roles and rising influence of the Global South in shaping the future of…

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to provide a critical and informative exploration of the emerging roles and rising influence of the Global South in shaping the future of global governance. Specifically, it inquires into the following questions: How is the Global South impacting the way we govern globally? What are the pushers, pulls and weights to the futures of global governance? Using Jim Dator’s alternative futures archetype, what is the future of global governance? What are the emerging issues and trends?

Design/methodology/approach

It uses Sohail Inayatullah’s futures triangle to map the drivers – the pushes, pulls and weights of global governance and Jim Dator’s archetypes – continued economic growth, collapse, conserver and transformation – to imagine and construct alternative futures of global governance.

Findings

The futures triangle analysis maps and reveals three diverse but causally linked Global South narratives of global governance. The pulls of the future include the Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa leading the way, and emerging economies reinforcing the pluralization of global governance discourses and systems. New governance regimes create new global governance dynamics and North – South relations. Their increasing social, political and economic clout leads to new governance structures. The Global South’s rising human development index, economic growth, decreasing financial reliance, the rise of minilateralism and South – South cooperation is a push of the present. Weights are recurring financial constraints, their lack of technical capacity, existing international laws, stagnating bureaucracy, poverty, domestic issues and state centrism (among others). Four alternative global governance scenarios emerge: a harmonious world is everybody’s business – a state-centric and economic growth global governance future. Here, the dynamics of global governance remain the same as zero-sum thinking informs the rules of the game. In dangerous transitions and the rise of the rest, however, the status quo is disrupted as power shifts rapidly and detrimentally. Then, in mosaic of the old structure, the South embraces protectionism, and the old vanguards return. Finally, in all boats rise substantially, power is redistributed as emerging states gain larger, formal (and informal) leadership roles in global governance. The global world order is re-designed for the Global South. A world parliament is created and stronger regional confederation or unions emerge.

Research limitations/implications

This paper extensively utilizes existing and emerging literature, official reports, blogs, interviews, books and other digital texts on global governance. The sources relevance is analyzed using the futures triangle tool and dissected to present four detailed scenarios using Dator’s alternative futures archetype. This study seeks to initially explore alternative futures of global governance from the perspective of the Global South. While some studies have approached the topic, only a few authors have addressed global governance using futures tools and methods. The goal of this research is to map and explore some alternative futures of global governance. The paper is less useful in predicting what lies ahead. Its intention is to highlight the “rise of the different” and to create a space for more meaningful conversations on global governance.

Practical implications

This research could provide futurists, policy-makers, international relations scholars and global governance advocates some alternative narratives, frameworks and images of global governance. While it does not offer any specific structures and solutions, it offers a number of emerging issues and perspectives from the Global South that decision-makers and institutions might want to consider as they rethink global governance.

Social implications

This paper highlights the emerging roles and perspectives of the Global South in global governance. It identifies some “trading zones” and “emerging issues” that may inspire actors to create new global governance spaces, innovate alternative narratives and design new frameworks of global governance.

Originality/value

It maps and constructs some plausible scenarios of global governance that emphasize Global South perspectives while using futures tools and methods.

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Article
Publication date: 4 March 2014

Marcus Bussey

This article seeks to reflect on the role of key concepts in foresight and futures work. The goal is to explore a set of concepts and link them to the effects they have in

Abstract

Purpose

This article seeks to reflect on the role of key concepts in foresight and futures work. The goal is to explore a set of concepts and link them to the effects they have in the world of foresight practice. It is argued that concepts order foresight practice and that though each foresight context and practitioner is unique, concepts bring a sense of order and coherence to foresight work and futures thinking. This reflection is placed in the context of a set of first principles the author acknowledges as his starting place for futures thinking and foresight practice.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper takes the form of conceptual analysis.

Findings

Concepts have effects and these can be assessed based on their ability to increase social and personal resilience in contexts characterised by change, complexity and uncertainty.

Research limitations/implications

Foresight practitioners clarify their own values and ethics through reflection on the concepts they use and the processes they deploy when working with clients.

Practical implications

More reflective foresight practice; greater conceptual clarity when reflecting on and communicating/teaching foresight and futures thinking.

Originality/value

This paper offers a basis for orienting foresight work towards the broader social goal of resilience through a deepened appreciation of how concepts inform process and structure meaning.

Details

Foresight, vol. 16 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1463-6689

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 5 August 2014

Gilbert Fan and Joan Nee Wey Khng

This paper aims to study the future of the Singapore association of social workers using causal layered analysis (CLA) and the Futures Triangle. In today’s rapidly…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to study the future of the Singapore association of social workers using causal layered analysis (CLA) and the Futures Triangle. In today’s rapidly changing world, professional associations have to re-evaluate their roles to remain relevant. This paper presents an analysis of findings from a study on the level of alliance of social workers with their professional association. By critically examining underlying issues beneath common beliefs held by social workers that impede, promote or sustain change with their professional association, we can gain a deeper understanding into their level of alliance with their association. Insights toward current issues faced by the association as well as its alternative and preferred futures could be illuminated.

Design/methodology/approach

Inayatullah’s “Futures Triangle” was used to deepen the findings of the study on the level of alliance of social workers with their professional association from the lens of CLA (Inayatullah, 2004). The study employed interviews with 27 social workers in Singapore, selected through purposive sampling.

Findings

Alternative scenarios and preferred futures of the Singapore Association of Social Workers (SASW) that were postulated from the interviews reinforce a need for more targeted recruitment campaigns. It also calls for regionalization and globalization of SASW to maximize its potentials.

Originality/value

The paper suggests how a social work association might be able to reposition its role in relation to its stakeholders to promote and sustain itself. SASW could do so through positioning itself as the “National Geographic” beacon for social workers in Singapore to reach out to the world.

Details

Foresight, vol. 16 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1463-6689

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 6 May 2014

Sohail Inayatullah and Ivana Milojević

The purpose of this paper is to present the scenarios, visions and strategies that resulted from a five-day foresight workshop for AKEPT (Higher Education Leadership

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to present the scenarios, visions and strategies that resulted from a five-day foresight workshop for AKEPT (Higher Education Leadership Academy), the Ministry of Higher Education, Malaysia.

Design/methodology/approach

An anticipatory action-learning course/workshop with over 50 lecturers and deans framed by the “six pillars” futures approach. Methods given the most attention were: the futures triangle; causal layered analysis; and scenario planning. Lecturers deliberated for the first three days, and deans for the last two. After their debates, the lecturers and deans presented their findings and recommendations to each other, and to the Ministry of Higher Education, Malaysia. As well, they considered how they as individual scholars can also pursue specific actionable steps towards their preferred futures visions.

Findings

The recommendations by lecturers and deans can be systematized in the following categories: establishment of a pilot project; enhancement of digital teaching and learning processes; customization of degrees; changing of the culture in higher education; enhancing collaboration; supporting research activities; rethinking of dominant frames of reference; and anticipating upcoming futures trends.

Research limitations/implications

As the process included lecturers and deans as key participants, and not, for example, students or the community, stakeholder perspectives are limited. Specific actionable steps, as per recommendations, are being pursued by the Ministry of Higher Education, Malaysia, as well as by individual participants.

Originality/value

Description of an action learning process in its second year. Year three will continue with a different group of participants who will reflect on the initial findings presented here. Description of the foresight process and findings of this case study may be of value to other ministries of higher education in the region and elsewhere.

Details

On the Horizon, vol. 22 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1074-8121

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 9 April 2018

Ali Asghar Pourezzat, Mohammad Hoseini Moghadam, Maryam Sani Ejlal and Ghazaleh Taheriattar

Through an examination of macro-historical studies on the governance of Iran, the purpose of this study is to identify the most significant and important events and trends…

Abstract

Purpose

Through an examination of macro-historical studies on the governance of Iran, the purpose of this study is to identify the most significant and important events and trends in the rise and fall of Iranian governments and introduce alternative futures in a range of possible, plausible and preferable forms of future governance. To carry out a foresight study of alternative futures of Iranian governance, the authors used futures studies, based on the detection of the most critical driving forces, which are also the most important uncertainties. Futures studies as an interdisciplinary field of study help to identify the events and trends that affect political change and offer scenarios of four alternative futures for the governance of Iran: Smart and Stable Government, Authoritarian Development-oriented Government, Irrational Government and Irrational Breakable Government. The authors believe that Iran’s endeavors to promote democracy, taking the changing international trends into account, make a more trustworthy future for Iran both possible plausible.

Design/methodology/approach

Based on macro-history approach and by using “shared history”, future triangle and then scenario planning, the future of Governance in Iran has been analyzed.

Findings

Whenever the government has distanced itself from the public and has neglected the trend of international change, it has been faced with a period of collapse and annihilation. And whenever these two important factors are understood, the result is a trend of development and growth. Therefore, the most favored image of Iran’s future relies on the maintenance and promotion of public participation and on increasing attention to the sustainable realities of international relations.

Originality/value

The complexities of events and trends affecting the rise and fall of previous governments of Iran make it necessary to use an interdisciplinary approach to understand the events that have emerged or are emerging in its governance. In this study, from futures studies point of view, transformation of governance has been studied.

Details

foresight, vol. 20 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1463-6689

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 1 February 2003

Sohail Inayatullah

Based on the experience of transport policy and scenario planning in South‐East Queensland, this essay explores the alternative futures of transport. It does so by first…

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4509

Abstract

Based on the experience of transport policy and scenario planning in South‐East Queensland, this essay explores the alternative futures of transport. It does so by first exploring the weight of lock‐ins that make creating new futures nearly impossible. Next, the ways that the future can be used to transform policy are explored. Three futures methods are used to articulate the alternative futures of transport. These are the futures triangle (the push, pull and weight of the future); scenarios (triple bottom line to Gaia, industrial realism to likely collapse, global technologization leading to artificial societies, and localization leading to a return of the past) and causal layered analysis. The essay concludes with a feminist unpacking of transportation futures.

Details

Foresight, vol. 5 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1463-6689

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Article
Publication date: 20 September 2013

Sohail Tahir Inayatullah, Shakil Ahmed, Pushpita Alam, Susan Davis and Syed Hashemi

This article aims to present the scenarios, visions and strategies that resulted from a three day foresight workshop for BRAC University in Rajendrapur, Bangladesh.

Abstract

Purpose

This article aims to present the scenarios, visions and strategies that resulted from a three day foresight workshop for BRAC University in Rajendrapur, Bangladesh.

Design/methodology/approach

The workshops used the “six pillars” approach to foresight. The methods used included: The futures triangle, emerging issues analysis, the futures wheel, The Sarkar game and macrohistory, causal layered analysis, the integrated scenario method, visioning and backcasting. The workshop was held over three days in Rajendrapur, Bangladesh.

Findings

Three visions were developed: “Advancing knowledge with a human face” – a future that integrates liberal arts and real world specialization; “BRAC to the future – an eco‐system of leaders” – a future where the university becomes a social laboratory of innovation; and, “BUG – BRAC University Global,” – a global future where the university leverages BRAC's mission to save and serve the world.

Research limitations/implications

The visions are considered complementary and are being used to develop the university's strategic plan and new campus design.

Practical implications

This model of foresight provides a practical model for engaging in planning the long‐term future especially when there are a diversity of interests and stakeholders. The workshop has led to real world changes in strategy and funding.

Social implications

This model of foresight provides a practical model for engaging in planning the long‐term future especially when there is a diversity of interests and stakeholders. The workshop has led to real world changes in strategy and funding.

Originality/value

This was the first foresight project/workshop held for BRAC University.

Details

On the Horizon, vol. 21 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1074-8121

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 8 August 2016

Sohail Inayatullah and Ivana Milojevic

The purpose of this report is to present the findings of a five-day course for AKEPT – the Malaysian Leadership Academy in the Ministry of Higher Education. The course was…

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838

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this report is to present the findings of a five-day course for AKEPT – the Malaysian Leadership Academy in the Ministry of Higher Education. The course was held from March 24-28th, 2014, for over 50 lecturers, professors, deputy deans and deans from Malaysian universities.

Design/methodology/approach

Senior lecturers and professors deliberated for the first three days on the futures of higher education in Malaysia. They presented their scenarios and recommendations to the deans. The deans used these findings to articulate their own preferred futures in the last two days. The future-oriented discussions were framed by the “six pillars” futures approach (Inayatullah, 2008; Inayatullah, 2015; Inayatullah and Milojevic, 2015).

Findings

The core of their recommendation consisted of a move by 2025 from the current fragmented university governance structure to a streamlined consortium model. Instead of the factory, a collection of linked longhouses or “rumah panjang” was offered as a way forward. This new model would have two immediate benefits: considerable cost savings and enhanced mobility for students and professors.

Research limitations/implications

This case study presents scenarios and strategies. Limitations include the willingness of the Ministry to act on these recommendations. However, as this course was part of a number of foresight processes in Malaysia, even if these particular recommendations do not realize, they are steps in creating an ecology of foresight and of possible university transformation.

Practical implications

This study links causal layered analysis, scenarios and visions to recommendations in the context of a multi-year foresight process.

Social implications

The study includes valuable discussions by leading Malaysian thinkers and administrators on the futures of the university.

Originality/value

This was one of the few workshop-oriented interventions used the anticipatory action learning “six pillars framework”. It is especially valuable as it is the third year of futures intervention in higher education. The study contrasts with traditional expert-based forecasting in Asia.

Details

Foresight, vol. 18 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1463-6689

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 22 February 2008

Sohail Inayatullah

The purpose of this paper is to present a new approach to the study of the future.

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9141

Abstract

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.

Details

Foresight, vol. 10 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1463-6689

Keywords

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