Forecasting and backcasting
We use several methods to perform future studies. Below we focus on forecasting and backcasting.
Forecasting is a technique to sketch a (more) sustainable future. This could be the future setting for a technology, a project or even a policy. The future is sketched as detailed as possible: i.e. which stakeholders play a role, what is their role, what is the relevant socio-political context, how does the market look like, how do end-users behave, what technology, knowledge and infrastructure is required in this future?
Backcasting is a technique to draw the steps, actions and stakeholders that are necessary to make the sketched future a reality. For each step an analysis of its likelihood and realism is performed and the possible (unintended) positive and negative consequences are identified.
The outcome of a forecasting and backcasting exercise is a clear picture of where we stand, where we want to go, with whom and how.
Forecasting and backcasting can also be used to sketch multiple future visions for companies and organisations: scenario's. These scenario's can help a company or organisation to deal strategically with trends, developments and uncertainties.