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?

  1. Set a timeline to determine how far you will project into the future

  2. Baseline the current state

  3. Define future visions using either scenarios or principles

  4. Work backwards from the future visions, asking what would have to happen to get us there?

  5. 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 task.

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.


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