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Questioning The Future



Welcome to the second edition of Questioning the Future . This edition includes new chapters focused on the pillars of futures studies, teaching futures studies, new methods, and additional case studies. The case studies derive from nearly one hundred futures workshops run since the first edition came out. I would like to thank cities, businesses, associations, local, state and federal governments for initiating these projects. As well, the annotated bibliography has been updated.

While there are too many to thank individually, I would like to single out: Jennifer Bartlett, former Lord Mayor Jim Soorley, and Terri Birrell from Brisbane City Council; Jan Lee Martin from the Futures Foundation; Jan Archer (numerous organizations); Kelvin Spiller, Steve Gould and Phillip Daffara from Maroochy Shire Council; Pam Varcoe from Queensland Catholic Education; Robert Burke from Mt Eliza Business College; Jenny Brice from Fuji Xerox Australia; Kuo-hua Chen from Tamkang University; Gordon Prestoungrange from the IMCA, and Susan Leggett, who copy edited the entire manuscript and helped in many other ways.

This book initially grew from the graciousness of the International Management Centres Association awarding me the David Sutton Fellowship in Action Learning Questioning. Chapters on anticipatory action learning were specifically written as David Sutton Fellow.

Questioning the Future intends to bridge the divide between scholarly grand thinking on the future, particularly macrohistory and epistemology, and the details of managing the future. What links them is action learning futures, a method which iteratively questions the futures that we are given, thus creating the possibility of alternative and preferred futures. Hopefully, the methods and tools in this book will help us reject the often-used futures we are sold, and create the more authentic futures we seek for current and future generations.

The second edition of Questioning the Future is divided into four parts. The first section explores futures studies—its epistemology, approaches, trends, as well as case studies from the field. The second section focuses on futures studies and action learning, developing a new approach that combines futures studies and action learning to create anticipatory action learning. The ways in which the future can be used to transform organizations are articulated in this section. It is written for the manager, and moves outside of traditional scholarly writing. Extensive case studies are presented. The third section presents an annotated bibliography of significant works in futures studies. Section four is the appendix, which provides in bullet point form the main methods used in the field.


Sohail Inayatullah, March 2005




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