Dreborg, K.H. (1996) ‘Essence of backcasting’, Futures, 28(9), pp. 813–828. - Deepstash

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Essence of backcasting

Backcasting is a research method in future research to plan the future, which involves envisaging alternative futures. 


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How does it work?

Backcasting involves envisioning a desirable future and then working backward from that future to the present. This approach helps determine the feasibility of ideas or projects. Essentially, it’s about planning for the future by starting from the end goal and figuring out the steps needed to get there. 🌟


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Essence of backcasting

Backcasting is a research method that plans the future, which starts with defining a desirable future and then works backward to identify policies and programs that will connect that specified future to the present. It is used to assess the feasibility of an idea or project.


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Forecasting vs Backcasting

Unlike forecasting, which predicts the future based on current trends, backcasting envisions a specific future outcome and determines the steps needed to achieve it.


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Typically backcasting is applied on long-term complex issues, involving many aspects of society as well as technological innovations and change. 

DREBORG, K.H. (1996)


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Use backasting when...

  • the problem to be studied is complex, affecting many sectors and levels of society
  • there is a need for major change, ie. when marginal changes within the prevailing order will not be sufficient
  • dominant trends are part of the problem, these trends are often the cornerstones of forecasts


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Result of a backcasting study

The result of a backcasting study is usually an alternative images of the future, thoroughly analysed as to their feasibility and consequeces. For example, they are made to high-light polarities, like solar Sweden VS unclear Sweden. 


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Stakeholders of a backcasting study

A backcasting study is meant to provide input to a policy-forming process, with many actors. It is addressed to many actors such as political parties, governmental authorities, municipalities, organisations, private enterprises, and an informed general public. 


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Aim of study

Backcasting studies should aim for a widening perception of possible solutions among various actor, and highlight consequences of strategic choices in society. 


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Dreborg, K.H. (1996) ‘Essence of backcasting’, Futures, 28(9), pp. 813–828.

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