Is participant experience relevant?
It's okay if participants haven't seen the inside of a classroom in years.
Physical trust needed
Mental trust needed
Masking tape, color post-its, pens and markers.
2 hours – whole day
Experience level of the facilitator
taken part OR some facilitation experience
Number of facilitators
A room with an empty long wall that things can be stick on.
CHARACTER OF THE METHOD
Level of activationneutral
Woo-Woo Level – How touchy-feely is this method?
From 1.Rationalist-Materialist “No feelings here, folks.” to 5.Esoteric-Shamanic Bleeding Heart:
Backcasting is an approach to planning innovation that is based on moving backwards from the vision to the present to explore its feasibility and implications. It can be done as a participatory process but it can also be used by an individual.
BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE
This method is similar to forecasting but uses an approach that fosters creativity and removes the obstacles of being too limited by the "available" or "feasible" solutions to the problem.
Robinson, John. B. 1990. Futures under glass: a recipe for people who hate to predict Futures, vol. 22, issue 8, pp. 820–842.
PREPARATION (excluding materials)
You need a room with an empty wall on which you can stick post-its and masking tape. Prepare some chairs for the participants.
1 Establish the Timeframe
With the group, decide on the timeframe that is relevant for your problem. Stick the masking tape to the wall to mark the timeframe.
2 Current States: Beginning of the Timeline
Ask your group to describe the current state from the point of view of sustainability – describe the problem, taking into account all the sustainability principles (economic and social development, environmental protection). Analyze why it is not sustainable. What are the main challenges to be addressed and indicators that measure them? Name the present key stakeholders. Write the information you came up with on the post-its and stick them at the beginning of your timeline.
3 Future States: End of the Timeline
Brainstorm and define possible future states that are sustainable. You can use a variety of techniques for brainstorming and for choosing the future scenario. Taking into account the sustainability principles, determine which future state (or states) the group finds most relevant. Agree on a definition of the chosen future states together. Write this on the post-its and stick them at the end of your timeline.
4 Work Back
Identify with your group, actions to be undertaken to reach the future state defined in the previous step. For each action think of indicators of success (taking into account the indicators developed in the first step). You can do it by asking the question “what would be required to get from the future to the present?” You can focus on the near future, medium time perspective and long term plans. Then analyze what risks and opportunities you see related to each of the actions to be taken. Are some additional actions necessary? You can develop several ways to get to your future state and analyze each of them. The risks and opportunities analyses can then be used to evaluate which path is the most promising. Use the timeline and post-its to include all the information the group comes up with. Mark several paths use the masking tape.
Discuss your results.