Introduction to the Symposium on ‘Intuition in Futures Work’

by Oliver Markley


This special “Symposium” issue of the Journal of Futures Studies was birthed in the spring
of 2014, during a downtown Singapore luncheon conversation between JFS Editor Sohail
Inayatullah and myself. As we were sharing some of the proudest prouds and sorriest sorries of
our respective professional lives, intuition stood out as something we both had in common: We
both confessed to pride about the ways that each of us had found to use the intuitive function for
ourselves personally and as something we teach others to tap into in spite of the dubious “political
correctness” in many settings to do so; and our sorrow that this essential way of knowing has
not caught on more widely as a credible methodological tool for use in futures studies and
proactive leadership generally.

As we explored ways to rectify this, Sohail suggested some type of a special issue of the
journal on this topic. As we talked about it, we agreed that such an issue shouldn’t involve
a lot of ivory tower rhetoric, but be more juicy, with personal reflections of how different
futurists have experientially come to value and practice intuition-based methods in their futures
work. Such an approach was used to advantage in Intuition: The Inside Story, a collection
of interdisciplinary perspectives edited by Robbie Davis-Floyd & P. Sven Arvidson (1997).
Ultimately, we decided on a special “Symposium” issue of the journal that would have precisely
these characteristics, written by recognized practitioners of the art. I reluctantly agreed to take
on the role of editor for this initiative, and in retrospect, am glad that I did.

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