Whereas forecasting is the process of predicting the future based on current trend analysis, backcasting approaches the challenge of discussing the future from the opposite direction. Backcasting then is:Holmberg, J. & Robèrt, K.H. 2000. Backcasting from non-overlapping sustainability principles: a framework for strategic planning. "International Journal of Sustainable Development and World Ecology", 74, 291–308.]

Typically, several alternative scenarios are examined -- usually representing different normative (or desirable) states. The question is then asked, if we want to arrive at Scenario A, what trends would need to change to get us there. Usually, quantitative analysis provides a feasibility or plausibility assessment. For example, if Scenario A was future in which CO2 emissions were stabilized at Xppm and Scenario B was CO2 stabilization at Yppm -- quantitative analysis could help assess which one was more plausible under any given set of assumptions. This would be backcasting.


See also

* Global Scenario Group

External links

* [ Tellus Institute] - environmental research group that uses backcasting to develop strategies for sustainability
* [ Backcasting Presentation from IA Summit 2007] - backcasting as a technique in Information Architecture

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