In this essay, we argue that being relevant to practice must imply a concern with influencing future IS practices. Discussions of IS research relevance, however, are rarely explicit about how research is meant to shape the future. Drawing on Feenberg’s (2002) critical theory of technology and his concepts of primary-secondary instrumentalization and potentialities, we consider how IS research about the past can inform the future of IS practice. We then explore implicit assumptions about shaping the future in positivism, interpretivism and critical research, and consider how design science and action research may be addressing technological potentialities. We draw attention to Zald’s (1993) enlightenment model as an alternative to suggest how IS researcher might be more open to research approaches drawn from the humanities for social and technical critique. We conclude by considering the feasibility of our suggestions.