Back-Casting is a method which focuses on working backward from an ideal
outcome. It can be more effective than relying on forecasting alone, as it
allows for creativity, presents a wide range of options, and takes a forward
looking approach to issues.
Common uses of back-casting include:
- To identify what is needed to achieve outcomes.
- In identifying starting points and next steps.
When to use it?
Frame: To develop a path forward working
back from the ideal state.
Generate: To identify next steps by targeting an outcome.
How to do it?
Set a timeline to determine how far you will project into the future
Baseline the current state
Define future visions using either scenarios or principles
Work backwards from the future visions, asking what would have to happen to
get us there?
Work forwards, identifying critical actions and outcomes
There are no specific requirements beyond this
being a group activity that requires enough time proportionate to the
Pros and Cons
- An approach that focuses on being deliberate in achieving an outcome.
- Requires a defined outcome which can be difficult to obtain.
- Even with a defined future it can be difficult to identify the steps to get there.
Although for some groups identifying an objective
can be time-consuming, for others it will be a simple task. For back-casting it
is important to identify the steps needed and the infrastructure required to
meet the desired objective.