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Robinson’s “Backcasting” Approach

John Robinson introduced the term “backcast” in a paper in Futures in 1990 [1]. It formalized an approach that others had used before, sometimes called a “strategic” or “normative” approach. Below, the steps in his procedure are reproduced.




  1. Determine objectives
  2. Specify goals, constraints and targets
  3. Describe present system
  4. Specify exogenous variables
  5. Undertake scenario analysis
  6. Undertake impact analysis


[1] Robsinson, John. 1990. “Futures Under Glass: A Recipe for People Who Hate to Predict,” Futures October.