Causal layered analysis – Wikipedia and video

Causal layered analysis

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopediaJump to navigationJump to search

Causal layered analysis (CLA) is a technique used in strategic planning and futurology to more effectively shape the future.[1][2] The technique was pioneered by Sohail Inayatullah, a Pakistani-Australian futurology researcher.[3]



Causal layered analysis works by identifying many different levels, and attempting to make synchronized changes at all levels to create a coherent new future. Inayatullah’s original paper[3] as well as his TEDx talk[4] identify four levels:

  1. The litany: This includes quantitative trends, often exaggerated and used for political purposes. The result could be a feeling of apathy, helplessness, or projected action. Inayatullah calls this “the conventional level of futures research which can readily create a politics of fear.”[3]
  2. Social causes, including economic, cultural, political, and historical factors.
  3. Structure and the discourse that legitimizes and supports the structure.
  4. Metaphor and myth

History of research[edit]

CLA was first introduced explicitly as a futures research technique by Sohail Inayatullah in a 1998 article for Futures that would come to be widely cited.[3] Later, Inayatullah would edit the CLA Reader, that featured chapters from a number of futurists and practitioners describing their experience with CLA.[5][6]

Inayatullah’s work on CLA was examined in a book by Jose W. Ramos in 2003.[7]

A 2008 article by Chris Riedy examined the similarities, differences, and possible combinations of CLA and Ken Wilber‘s integral theory.[8]

A 2010 article by Gary P. Hampson explored the relationship between integral futures and CLA further, and also considered Richard Slaughter‘s critique of CLA.[9]

Sohail Inayatullah and Ivana Milojevic have published an update in 2015.[10] With various authors, they investigate topics such as:

  • The Global Financial Crisis
  • Terrorism futures
  • Global governance
  • Ageing and the changing workforce
  • Educational and university futures
  • Climate change
  • Water futures in the Muslim world
  • The alternative futures of China
  • Agricultural policy in Australia
  • The new national narrative in Singapore


Causal layered analysis – Wikipedia