By Sohail Inayatullah and Jaqueline Weigel


One of the participants lowered this voice, and said: “I am ashamed to admit it, but my son is involved with hamburger dealing”. This was the punch line of the “Healthy organic food” group’s presentation on the Futures of Food 2030.

During the Futures Thinking and CLA Method workshop at Rio de Janeiro, four groups presented their findings. They used the Integrated scenario method developed by Inayatullah. In this approach, four scenarios are developed: the preferred, the disowned, the integrated and the outlier. The preferred group conceived of food in 2030 as organic, abundant and accessible to everybody. The world would be a place where people would spiritually feed themselves on light and colors, physically receive vitamin and vegetable shots, and would mentally find their balance through aromatherapy. They would practice regular meditation and be free from harmful food. In this future, drinking alcohol, smoking or eating too much sugar would be unacceptable. In the final moments of the group’s presentation, one of the participants stated his son shamefully sells hamburgers, as if he were an outlaw. The shock was immediate, and the imagination of this ridiculous scene gave way to a possible future reality. Their metaphor, it was obvious to all, was “food for health.” Accessed 21 February 2020

The second group, the disowned scenario, focused on a large current corporation, interested in keeping their markets and using technology such as 3D printers to make food on a large scale for everybody. Science, technology, and capital would guarantee future demand by ensuring abundant food, even with high initial investment costs. Their metaphor was “food for all.”

The third group, which represented the integrated future (combining the preferred with the disowned), imagined a world with healthy food for all by 2030, resulting from both the combination of science and technology and from the better use of the planet’s natural resources. Sustainability was their core worldview and the narrative metaphor was “food for life.”

The last group, the outlier, brought values which were atypical, but common to human beings. The group challenged the others with the narrative “Home as a farm”. Each Brazilian home would produce its own food with the use of natural resources and 3D printers. Accessed 21 February 2020

The ingredients would be organic and small producers would be part of a relevant and active network. Large corporations – who waste natural resources and produce high levels of industrialized food – no longer dominate. Small Brazilian startups – Brasileiras – lead the way.

After the presentation of the created scenarios, the organizer and CEO of Wfuturismo, Jaqueline Weigel played the role of a referee of preferred futures and decided that, while the first group had the best performance at presenting their future, the ” home like a farm” was the most convincing presentation.


Scenario title Preferred Future Disowned Integrated Outlier
System Healthy foods embraced, other foods avoided Science and technology plus large capital investment. Science and technology plus sustainability Every home has a 3D printer
Worldview Government and community regulations Large Corporations Corporations with community groups Small start-ups
Metaphor Food for health Food for all Food for life Home as farm


These scenarios were created by the participants of a CLA – Causal Layered Analysis – workshop held for the first time in Brazil on February 15th by Sohail Inayatullah and Jaqueline Weigel. The Futures Thinking Lab overlooked the Museum of Tomorrow, which served as an inspiration to the group for Brazil to truly create their preferred tomorrow. The intention was to show how CLA could be applied to different problems faced by Brazil, bringing a quick possibility of changing mindset and transforming the nature of strategic decision making in the Brazilian market. CLA is used to dive into deeper waters than just scenarios and trends in order to create transformative stories of personal and collective futures.

CLA is both a theory of knowledge and a futures thinking method. It assumes four levels of reality. Daily litany or headlines make up for understanding reality. For example, the number of deaths caused by the Coronavirus. The system-level brings the complex causes of the virus, such as the sale of wild animals in the markets, the consumption of exotic animals, and the lack of buffer zones between wildlife, agricultural areas, and cities. Worldviews are the deeper perspectives enacted by the global actors on this subject, such as doctors, scientists, citizens, food producers, and government. Urbanization, patriarchy, and capitalism are the core worldviews that continue to create pandemics such as the Coronavirus. The deepest level is the metaphor. In the case of the Coronavirus, this could be the story of “more, more and more” or “food for me”, with no real rules of protection or prevention, just food to meet immediate desires, however harmful to others.

Jaqueline Weigel presenting Futures in Brazil. Picture by Garoa Produções


Prior to the scenario development, participants played the CLA game. In this role-playing game, members are divided into four groups. The litany – ladainha – group articulates the headlines. The systems group substantiates why the headline has become a reality. The worldview group contributes different perspectives of stakeholders, and last, the metaphor group transforms the headline into stories. The CLA game tests to see if the litany is plausible – does it have support from the system, the stakeholders, and narratives – or is it extremely unlikely.

Jaqueline Weigel presented the first headline: “Oil and gas companies have broken down and there are many unemployed Brazilians”. The systems group embraced the headline and justified that this has occurred because of corruption, the lack of foresight and innovation in creating new technologies, and systems that are not adapting to a rapidly changing world. The worldviews were presented by a worker, a student, a CEO and Minister of Labor. The student said that she was afraid of the scenario. The worker agreed. The CEO added that she was anxious and unable to make a decision, and the Minister replied that he was on his way to Hawaii.

The metaphor group entered the conversation, asserting that we always knew this would occur, as “Brazil remains a sleeping giant and is now behind schedule.” Everyone agreed that, without a fight against corruption, and without foresight built into governmental, corporate and community Brazil would not rise.

The next headline was “Digitization has led to a recovery in Rio’s economy. Employment has reached peak levels.” The systems group burst out laughing, skeptical that this could ever be the case. The worker said he was happy, as well as the student and the CEO. The Minister was still in Hawaii.

The metaphor was: “Brazil still not on the map”.

The main emerging narrative was that Brazil was a place where everyone works hard for themselves but does not yet have the narrative of “one for all and all for one”. This partnership between capital, companies, preservation of natural resources, government and workers is urgently needed for Brazil to be able to transform.

A light moment at the workshop. Sohail Inayatullah with Brazilian foresight executives. Picture by Garoa Produções


To practice CLA, participants created three working groups. The first looked at the futures of football. The second the futures of food. The third that futures of employment. While we explored the latter above, a deconstruction of football revealed that while loved by all, football remains owned by the few. They imagined a different future for Football. In this future, football would be owned by all. Football teams would be run by cooperatives, not large corporate clubs. This would change the deep structure of sports ownership in the nation. The narrative shift would be football “loved by all” to “owned by all.” This would thus see a systemic change toward the peer to peer co-ownership model. The litany would shift from the number of people who watch and play football to the number of people who were co-owners of football clubs.


Football futures Today Transformed 2030
Litany Number of citizens who love football – watch and play Number of citizens who are part owners
System Hierarchy Peer to peer
Worldview Corporate Cooperative
Myth-metaphor Loved by all Owned by all Accessed 21 February 2020.

CLA intends to create the most robust policy and strategy formulation for countries, society, institutions, companies, and people in general. CLA is also used for self-analysis and re-creation.

A second group focused on privacy. They wished to see a transformation in the use and ownership of data moving from self-interest to data that was good for them all.


Data Privacy Today Transformed 2030
Litany There is no privacy Data decisions are democratic
System There are no rules, citizens unconcerned Data rules in all countries
Worldview Data rules are based on convenience Data exchange is facilitated for the good of all
Metaphor Gerson’s law [i]– take advantage of everything to get ahead The three musketeers

One of the working groups. Juliana Abelha, Thayani Costa, Rosana Pauluci, and Juliana Magalhães. Picture by Garoa Produções


CLA is of use not just for understanding and changing external conditions, but as well for transforming’s one own life story. Beginning with a problem one faces, the transformative question is: what metaphor are you stuck in? What is your future narrative?

When applied to an individual, CLA suggests first identifying a problem (e.g. feeling stuck in a job). Then, identifying the system which may have created the problem. For example, a conflict between the need for stability and the need for freedom; the conflict between the selves of “parent” and “teenager”. The third level is the source event or process that creates the worldview. In this case, a parent may have told a child that he/she needs to be responsible and get a job and that the future is a risky place. The final level is the metaphor. In this case, one interviewee said that his life was like that of “a bird in a cage”. The new guiding metaphor for this person was “flying like an eagle”. Next, participants create systemic changes that align with the narrative shift.

Another participant facing a health issue changed her story from the “black hole” to a “shining path”. This is fr2271043298&ref=page_internal. This is from the Facebook page, “O Gigante Acordou”.

We can also create a new metaphor through inner meditation work, applying a sacred sound to the metaphor. This creates a potential for transmutation in which the new metaphor does not come from the rational self, but from a deeper aspect of who we are. For example, the final metaphor could be the wise owl – not trapped in a cage nor flying high – but knowing what are the right steps to follow: safety with innovation.

Foresight in Brasil

The context of the CLA workshop was to help propagate Futures Studies methodologies to Brazilian executives, so that organizations and society are able to transform themselves, instead of only responding to the short-term demands of the market. Without depth, there is no transformation, and without transformation, there is no habitable future. Given that Brazil remains the giant that is almost awake, it is hoped that foresight tools can help Brazil awaken and stay awake.

About the Authors

Sohail Inayatullah is the UNESCO Chair in Futures Studies at Universiti Sains Islam Malaysia (USIM). He can be reached at [email protected] Jaqueline Weigel is the CEO of Wfuturismo and can be contacted at [email protected]


Inayatullah, Sohail. 2015. What Works: Case Studies in the Practice of Foresight. Tamsui: Tamkang.

Inayatullah, Sohail and Milojević, Ivana (Eds.). 2015. CLA 2.0: Transformative Research in Theory and Practice. Tamsui: Tamkang.

Milojević Ivana and Inayatullah Sohail. 2018. Narrative Foresight. Futures. 73:151-162.

Ramos, Jose. 2010. Alternative Futures of Globalization. PhD Thesis Dissertation. Brisbane: Queensland University of Technology.

[i] (Accessed 24 February 2020).