The Navigation System, The Planetary Gardener, and the Prism:
Metaphors for Bringing the Future into Being
Keywords:awareness based systems change, Futuring, polycrisis, Transformation, Education
Thirty-three years ago, futurist Sohail Inayatullah and MIT Senior Lecturer Otto Scharmer participated in a seminar focused on macrohistory at the University of Hawaii at Manoa held by peace activist and futurist Johan Galtung. In the years that followed, each developed a body of work that provides an integrated theory and method that supports individuals, groups and organizations to sense, vision and co-create the future. Dr. Inayatullah’s Causal Layered Analysis (CLA) draws on and integrates empiricist, interpretive, critical, and action learning modes of knowing at inner and outer levels to cultivate transformative spaces for the creation of alternative futures. Dr. Scharmer’s Theory U provides a framework and process for building essential leadership capacities needed to address the root causes of today’s social, environmental, and spiritual challenges by shifting individual and collective consciousness from ego-system to eco-system awareness. Recently the two came together in dialogue, joined by the Presencing Institute’s Emma D. Paine, Editorial Coordinator and recent graduate from the London School of Economics, to explore the role of futuring in societal transformation. In the context of our current polycrisis, and drawing from a wealth of personal and professional experience, the three engage in a multi-generational conversation about bringing the future into being.
Berger, D. (2014). The struggle within: Prisons, political prisoners, and mass movements in the United States. PM Press.
The Care Collective. (2020). The care manifesto: The politics of interdependence. Verso Books.
Galtung, J., & Inayatullah, S. (Eds.). (1997). Macrohistory and macrohistorians. Perspectives on individual, social, and civilizational change. Praeger.
Gilmore, R. W. (2022). Abolition geography: Essays toward liberation. Verso Books.
Inayatullah, S. (2005). Questioning the future: Methods and tools for organizational and societal transformation. Tamkang University Press.
Inayatullah, S. (2013). Using gaming to understand the patterns of the future – the Sarkar Game in action. Journal of Future Studies, 18(1), 1–12.
Inayatullah, S. (2014). Causal layered analysis defined. The Futurist, 48(1), 26.
Inayatullah, S. (2017). Macrohistory and timing the future as practice. World Futures Review, 9(1), 26–33. https://doi.org/10.1177/1946756716686788
Scharmer, O. (2016). Theory U: Leading from the future as it emerges (2nd ed.). Berrett-Koehler.
Scharmer, O. (2022, Sept. 6). Protect the flame: Circles of radical presence in times of collapse. Medium. https://medium.com/presencing-institute-blog/protectthe-flame-49f1ac2480ac
How to Cite
Copyright (c) 2022 Emma Paine, Sohail Inayatullah, Otto Scharmer
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.