Future backcasting

From the future to the present to understand how our today's actions affect our tomorrow, and gain design inspirations.

applied for






Service Staff




inspired by

Dynamic personas, Impact Journey, Service Roadmap

what is it

The Future Backcasting is a suitable tool for group activities or workshops to reflect about how our choices affect the future. It provides an overview of one or more hypothetical future scenarios and works backwards to identify the steps needed to connect that specified futures to the present, represented by a personas, a service or a system. In this way designers and other participants could also reflect on different directions in which specific organisations, products, services or initiatives may evolve, and extract considerations able to affect their work today - so to achieve a desired future or avoid an unwanted one.

use it to

Identify requirements or generate ideas to move from a present situation to a future one.

remember to

Provide relevant data and information about the present that may affect the future.

step by step guidelines


Select a topic or specific service industry, get inspired by recent news (signals) about it and decide how many and what types of future scenarios you would like to shape (Possible, Plausible, Probable or Preferred). Once you have defined one or more future scenarios, set a hypothetical year and briefly describe each of them in the form of an article (title + short description).

Remember to make available a couple of links/news from the present to make people understand where the future scenarios come from.


Build the narrative to describe the “today section” selecting the best tool between personas, service description and system scenario.

Remember to highlight all the useful information that could effect the future scenario


Define one or more steps needed to connect each future scenario to the present. For each step, specify the blockers and enablers in order to easily identify the most critical points.


Identify the quick wins that help you to get closer to the future scenario.