Masterclass on Causal Layered Analysis with Sohail Inayatullah

CLA is not about forecasting or prediction but about storytelling,
a means for the construction and exploration of possible worlds.

Cate Watson

Key facts

  • Familiarize yourself with an innovative approach to organizational and personal transformation
  • Time and Duration: Sunday, June 10th 2018, 09:30 am – 06:00 pm
  • Costs: € 395 + VAT; € 295 + VAT if you are attending the BEYOND STORYTELLING Conference – Register here.
  • Location: Facts and Stories GmbH, Planckstr. 13, 22765 Hamburg

Purpose of the Masterclass

Participants to the Masterclass will familiarize themselves with Causal Layered Analysis (abbreviated as CLA), one of the most innovative approaches in futures studies, foresight, and personal transformation since the end of the 1990s. It is used to create alternative organizational and personal futures.

The masterclass will consist of presentations, case studies and interactive sessions allowing participants to experiment the approach and the associated toolbox.

Who should attend?

The Masterclass is an offer for everyone working with the development of new strategies and policies in organizations, institutions and communities and who wants to enrich his or her own toolbox with a structured, proven and innovative approach.

Background to Causal Layered Analysis

CLA assumes four levels of reality, each equally important: the litany or the day-to-day unquestioned reality — headlines and data; the systemic or social causation level in which reality is accounted for and solutions offered; the worldview or discourse level wherein multiple perspectives and stakeholder positions are included; and the deepest level of myth and metaphor linked to culture that creates worldviews and where long-term transformation often occurs. CLA goes up and down these layers of analysis searching for solutions and strategies, finding new stories with accompanying new litanies.

CLA has been developed over the past twenty-seven years and now is used throughout the world, and in particular in Asia, in a number of settings: (1) as a way to deepen analysis so that policy solutions and innovative strategies are more inclusive, broader and successful, (2) as a strategy tool to deepen and broaden traditional business and executive strategic thinking, (3) as a tool to create structured conversations around gaps in policymaking, (4) as a tool for  fleshing out backcasts, to ensure that they are robust, (5) as part of incasting scenarios, (6) as a way for practitioners to gain self-reflection on their core narratives, and (7) as a research tool for doctoral students.

Applications of Causal Layered Analysis

Using CLA has a number of advantages. These include:

  • Analyses from multiple perspectives – creates a map of positions at all four layers. Helps move away from worldview blindness
  • Deconstructs the dominant or business and usual understanding and then allows for a reconstruction of  alternative futures
  • Ensures that new narrative is accompanied by new measures (litanies) as well as required system changes – can be used to ensure robustness of implementation strategy
  • Identifies where are the resistors and resistances to change and what and where are the possibilities of transformation
  • Ensures that the new preferred future is inclusive of the disowned strategy

CLA has been used throughout the world in action learning settings. These include, for example, projects with international police, bio-security, child safety, city councils, professional associations, large multinational corporations, small and medium sized enterprises, and national governments.  Topics have included terrorism, the knowledge revolution, libraries, quality and safety in health, bio-security, university futures and education policy.

Recent developments in CLA have added mantra to metaphor, that is, instead of the rational action of choosing a new metaphor, following the work of Dada Prana, a mantra (as appropriate to the individuals' civilizational context) is used to create the new story.  The mantra acts from a post-rational and post-strategic level, working from the deepest part of self and consciousness.

Sohail Inayatullah

Sohail Inayatullah is currently the UNESCO Chair in Futures Studies at the Islamic Science University of Malaysia (USIM) and a professor at Tamkang University (Taiwan) and an associate Melbourne Business School (Australia). He is also an adjunct professor at the University of the Sunshine Coast (Australia. Professor Inayatullah has worked extensively with governments, international corporations, and non-governmental organizations around the globe. The inventor of Causal Layered Analysis, Sohail Inayatullah has written and edited numerous books, special issues of journals, refereed journal articles, anthology chapters, and editorial pieces. In particular, he is the editor of CLA 2.0: Transformative Research in Theory and Practice (Tamsui: Tamkang University Press, 2015). He is also the director of Metafuture, an international futures think-tank.

Training Materials & Program

Please see the detailed program here: PDF-Download

CLA readings will be provided before the masterclass by e-mail.
Training materials comprising the slide-show used during the different modules of the masterclass and a bibliography will be given to participants. They will be downloadable at the end of the session.


Facts and Stories GmbH, Planckstr. 13, 22765 Hamburg



You can register via eventbrite or our registration system. If you registered for the BEYOND STORYTELLING conference, please choose the BST ticket.