When to Backcast
When to backcast, so this would be, you know, what it's useful for. And I've pretty much already told you it's useful for everything, but I might, I'll give you a couple of examples so you can see how actually manipulating that time frame makes a massive difference. So this has been really great. I've used it with businesses on campaigns. So for instance, when I went into this product, this food bar company, and said, you know, Hit me with, like, a really successful seasonal campaign that you've done. So they were able to say, you know, we did this one here, a seasonal campaign, it's like an 18-month thing, we've developed something for the fall with pumpkin in it, right, we work out, we have this delivery strategy and this particular one was super successful, 18 months. So I had them write down the resources, who, what they needed to make that thing real. You know, apart from pumpkin, 'cause it was fall. But, so we look at the inputs that they used in terms of how did they market the ...
thing, how did they outreach, how did they design, like what were their key parts, and the functions. Like, what did they have to do, how did they, how did they outreach? How did they reach out and advertise this thing business to business, business to customer, whatever. And then, we give them something brand new from the pipeline, so if we've developed a pipeline, and in five years' time we've got some crazy things I've mentioned, for instance, that I ran a whole section of this particular workshop on edibles. They just bought a new bakery in Colorado, seemed like the natural thing to do. So I said, right now, you don't, but who knows? Soon, you may, five years' time, it would make sense to have a whole range of edibles, and maybe they're for seniors. Maybe it's like good health benefits. And it's a pain bar, I don't know. But, the key is, take this brand new thing, that you have no idea how you're gonna put it out there, and make it fit into your 18-month seasonal campaign. So take all of those resources you normally use. Take all of the ways you delivered, and now take this brand new thing. And think hard, how could you deliver it the same way? This is a really useful use of the backcasting. The campaigns or service is something new, or instead of going, oh, it's new, and like it's not what we've done before, so, like, how are we gonna make it? You don't have to think, you simply take a campaign you already have and you analyze it this way. You analyze it and you look at how balanced it was, and how it ended, when it ended. And then you make something brand new and unexpected fit into all those categories. And then just like massage, so that's the first way you could use backcasting that can be really, really useful. If you work for yourself, and you're trying something new, you had something that worked before, you can use that. If you're at work in branding or product development or whatever it is, service delivery, you take something that's worked and you analyze that in terms of its time frame first. And then you write down the parts that made it work, and you simulate that with something completely new. So again, it's like so obvious, right, it's making this connection. It's taking something brand new you haven't thought about, it's taking something you were really good and successful at, and it's pushing you into making those connections, to spark out new ways of doing things, efficiently, also. Like once you have this framework, it's pretty useful. You can jam it out, so there's that. But there's also, if you're looking at a system, and you wanna change something up. So say, for instance, education. In fact, we've used drought as something, as an example in some of our other thinking. I'm gonna use drought to demonstrate how else you can use backcasting. So, say we've decided again that we want to educate the area about drought. All right, we want them to use less water, we want them to store water on site. So our aim is, we want them to have a certain amount of water, let's call it 200 gallons for a family, on site at the house, at home. And an emergency pack, part of your e-prep, right, call it e-prep. Now this actually is a campaign that exists right now. All right, the city, let's call it the city of Marina, but cities all over the bay area are doing this, has decided that they need to achieve this and they need to achieve it in about, I think they've decided 10 years, and we're halfway through this campaign. So let's call it 10, all right? So the resources, and the materials. The resources they need to do all the functions, sorry, that's function, (laughs) okay. So function might be, we need to get the word out. Right, we need some way to spread the word to the community, so outreach to community. I'll just put a house, right. And then the resources, they're probably thinking about it, well, the way they've done it so far in their 10-year thing, is they've decided to teach fifth-graders at school how to make an emergency pack. And my kids both went through this. They had to assemble emergency pack, voila, every house is gonna have an emergency pack, 'cause the kids did it, except that, you know, most people have lost it, and they didn't put water in it, because they just cobbled it together. Usually their parents did it, didn't actually educate the kids, just my experience. Okay, so their resources were, go to fifth-grade students. Right, have the students make a pack, bring it back to the family, educate the parents, right, that was the plan, ten year. I've seen some of it working, right? Their other resources might have been, I guess, to go to the emergency storage places, like you needed to have stores that were selling it, right. Well, let's just say, at our essence, I'm doing my timing, at our essence, we have students as a resource, and the outreach is by the schools. Now say we decide that, in fact, we need this to happen in 18 months. We know the big one is coming, we know we got like a seven-point seismic massive thing, it's gonna kick in in, I don't know, 2020. Could happen, 68% chance, right? So, so we know that's coming. And we need everyone to be prepared. We're now gonna go two years, what's gonna change? We've got urgency, so what are we suddenly gonna do? We still wanna get this out, but what are our resources now? Like we have to get this message out to everybody immediately. Yeah, we're gonna have to target the people with the money, right? The parents aren't gonna work anymore, the fifth-graders, six, the fifth-graders aren't gonna cut it, the message can't wait for a semester. So now we're gonna have to outreach directly. Our resource is gonna change. We're not looking for these guys, we're looking for public announcement, we're probably looking for incentives, right, we're looking for the people with the money. So now our outreach, our functions, our outreach is gonna be to different people, it's gonna be straight to adults. It's gonna be more alarmist, possibly. So if we shorten that time frame, now we've got a really sort of, before, we were sort of creating a push, we were pushing it from the education system out into the community, but if we've got a two-year, we need pull. We need urgency, we need the punters at the end of the lines, so we're probably gonna go for a totally different type of outreach that might be alarmist, or it might show the economic benefit of having that when all this stuff goes down. So this is the way we can use the backcasting to manipulate. If we already have a campaign, we think we've got it sorted, we're sitting on our team, or we're sitting on our own, if you're me, and you've gone, yeah, I'm gonna release this, I'm gonna do this, here's my time frame. The challenge is then to halve the time frame, and make yourself think hard about what you would have to do to change. Again, this is all about greater understanding and meaning, but it can be really, really specific. So whatever it is you're doing at the moment, understand the time frame, and then challenge yourself. Do your five minutes on backwards by literally halving it or quartering it, and looking at what that thing will end up being. So Shari, with her outreach, she's graduated, she wants to be working with older people as a clinical psychologist, right. May have decided that she would go and give herself 12 months to cement herself into the minds of the people she wants to work with, and to like get a feel for the industry. But Shari, if you were to give yourself six months, you're actually going to have to become way more proactive. Now this seems really obvious. But actually, when you put it up on backcasting, it enables you to think about the resources and the functions you're gonna need to get there. It's funny, it's maybe the most structured of all the lenses in terms of tools. It's a sort of a basic tool that's used by accountants. It's used by facilities managers. But it's really, epically useful to make you think way outside your area of expertise and push you to come out with new systems of delivery. All you need to do is practice it. You've got the worksheet, which is the key. And of course you can change the timeframe on it, but I would challenge you to just find something you're currently working on and think proactively about the time frame. So look at the time frame, which we usually don't know. So the first bit of creative thinking is, ah, never really thought about that. When does it end? A telly center, for instance, if you have a call center, right, you're setting up the call center, you've decided your new business is call center. You wouldn't be saying, I'm in this game for 10 years. Because the technology behind that thing is gonna radically change, the training of the people, the attrition of that thing is gonna radically change. If I were setting up a call center, knowing that ticker's changing, and people training is gonna cost me so much, I'd be going for something short, sharp, and hard-hitting. Because you know that your change is great. You know that you're gonna be pouring all this money into it, and if you're looking at a 10-year time frame, most of what you're looking at is gonna substantially change in that time. So then you might rethink your plan entirely. So super useful if you're setting up a business plan. What is it you wanna achieve? Can you make it harder, faster, stronger, quicker?