Incremental Backcasting


Purpose

The purpose of backcasting analyses is to assess feasibility and desirability of future scenarios. It starts by defining a desired future (e.g. vision) and then looks back to assess what would be required to get there.   The incremental backcasting uses regular backcasting pathways as a basis in order to add the possibility of obstacles that can constrain these actions.

WHAT

Experimentation and pathways definition

WHEN

Backcasting

SUGGESTED SESSION PREPARATION

Time frame:

2- 4 hours

The incremental backcasting uses regular backcasting pathways as a basis in order to add the possibility of obstacles that can constrain these actions.

Start with regular backcasting pathways on a timeline. Incremental backcasting exercises use regular backcasting pathways as a basis in order to add the possibility of obstacles and bottlenecks that can limit these actions. The backcasting pathways need to be clearly visualized on a timeline. 

Imagine what (unexpected) may happen on the way Numerous crucial, unexpected events (i.e. hinge-points) can happen along a (path)way to a better future. In this step, participants can brainstorm about examples of positive turns or negative constraints that could influence their backcasting pathway. Accordingly, these events can be placed on the timeline. Hinge-points can be internal and controllable (e.g. the construction of a new energy storage system), external and uncontrollable (e.g. economic crisis), climate-related (e.g. extreme sea-level rise) or not climate-related (e.g. high unemployment levels). Since these potential events can block the pathway of actions, it is valuable to think about what can be done to keep the plan on track or to develop an alternative pathway of actions. Participants can formulate these alternative pathways of actions and place them on the same timeline. The timeline that resulted from the regular backcasting exercise can be complemented with post-its to show hinge-points and alternative pathways. 

Additional Tools to support sessions

 Timeline: Thematic pathways of actions, obstacles or hinge-points as well as the interaction between them can be clearly visualized on a timeline. 

Post-its: Post-its turn vague thoughts and ideas into concrete actions or options. They can indicate hinge-points and thus help visualizing incremental scenarios on a timeline. When developing seeds-based pathways, post-its can help visualizing pathways of change and potential enabling and constraining.

Remote Advice

Visme:  To create online timelines 
Miro: To support activities  

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