Retro and backcasting



Excellent technique to involve participants in the process by addressing their personal experiences. Also very handy when you're tired of negative statements. The procedure does not really originate from Future Studies but is used in the field. It was born out of the frustration of always working on 'problem solving', and the focus on problems and negativity that comes with that.


Preferred futures already exist from the positive things of the past. Collect these things and incorporate them into your scenarios.


In pairs, interview each other - about the Core Q or urgenicies that your group is addressing.

For example

If your core question is 'How can we break our capitalist habits?', then ask your conversation partner to think of a situation in which capitalist habits were successfully broken.

What did you do in this situation?

How did you feel (moods, emotions)?

What made this situation possible (resources)?

Collect the actions / moods / resources from all the stories.

Group and synthesise the key elements and work with them to:

  • (a) create a scenario for a future
  • (b) create a project
  • (c) implement them in your life

As the past is evoked, we can invite guests or ancestors into the conversation via various methods of contact that are described elsewhere in this Grimoire.


To provoke a time clash and create an alternative desired future, start with an image of a preferred future. Then list the ideas, places or situations from this preferred future that you would like to implement in the present. Make a plan to make this possible.

What adaptations of the present are necessary? What are the obstacles? How can you overcome them?


With Yvonne Harder, we invented some very nice worlds. We chose to completely ignore the whole rational analysis process that leads to the axes and just did this activity together, in our swimming costumes, on the Rhône, with paper and pencil. We created our axes and world from our feelings and empirical findings. Our starting question was: situations where you didn't feel powerless in the face of societal concerns. A good example of wild futurology or detached and inspired practice. Probably a way of practising futurology with an overdrive effect (creates warmth and emphasis but loses accuracy?). On that note, we went for a swim.

Anna Cz.


Thanks to Maja Kuzmanovic from FoAM.

Anna Cz. wrote this spell.