Purpose - The war in Iraq raises questions about the global world order and this article aims to suggest the need for us to awaken to fresh thinking on the problems facing the world. Design/methodology/approach - A brief analysis of the global problematic is presented. Next, the article concentrates on some of the ways in which futurists can respond. The third section takes up the theme of what it means to "wake up" at the cultural level. Finally the paper considers some examples of "post-conventional" futures work. Findings - The article describes advanced forms of futures enquiry and action that are being developed to help people to engage in-depth with the multiple crises that threaten the world and its nascent futures. Originality/value - The article provides a basis for futurists and foresight practitioners to find the "levers of change", the strategies, the enabling contexts and pathways to social foresight.