Six pillars: futures thinking for transforming
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.
Keywords Social dynamics, Epistemology, Change management, Economic change, Forward planning
Paper type Conceptual paper