Every decision we make is informed by our beliefs about the future.

Most of us don’t have many tools for considering and describing what we think the future probably looks like. For teams leading change to create a new future state, this can be a real problem. Particularly when you have very different ideas about the future you are moving towards.

Sohail Inayatullah’s Futures Triangle maps the boundaries of what we believe is possible in the future by finding the tension between 3 poles.

Push of the present

What are the pressing issues you are dealing with today?

These could be trends and changes you are currently feeling the effect of. There might be changes that align with your purpose or idea of what good looks like that you want to harness and ride. Other changes may create concern, that you feel you ought to resist.

Weight of the past

The past shapes the present through the enduring legacy of what has come before.

Consider those cultural and structural elements around you that are so slow to change. What aspects of the past are important to retain that you have responsibility to steward into the future? What burdensome traditions no longer serve us, and are ready to be let go?

Pull of the future

We each bring images of the future that lure us forward.

Consider the visions of the future that you each find compelling. These might be images you are strongly drawn towards, futures that you want to live in. There may be visions of the future that alarm you and you wish to actively avoid.

The dynamic tension between these 3 poles creates a space of potential. Having this conversation as a team maps the boundaries of what you collectively believe is possible, allows you better understand one another, and get on the same page for the future state you are creating.