Most futuring exercises are meant to assist with making decisions in and about the present. In this section we look at techniques that can be used to work backwards from a proposed future (scenario, principle, vision, image…) to the present. These techniques can help choose meaningful steps, reveal dependencies and bottlenecks, or identify weak signals that suggest that one or another future might be more likely to unfold. Retrocasting grounds the dreams of preferred futures into the practicalities of anticipatory action, making it something of a modern-day step-by-step invocation.

  • Backcasting
  • Theory of change model
  • Retrotesting (IDEO method cards)
  • Dependency charts
  • Cause & Effect diagram
  • Fishbone diagram
  • Roadmaps
  • Weak signals
  • Invocation