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Reverse Planning


Creative tools > Reverse Planning

When to use it | How to use it | Example | How it works | See also


When to use it

Use it to go from an impractical idea to an idea that is feasible.

Use Reverse Planning to plan for the implementation of an idea that requires a specific future.








  X        Psychological



    X      Group


How to use it

1. Envision a perfect future

Start by creating a fantastic idea. It may be impossible, even fantasy. At this level, a completely impossible and idealistic solution may be created.

2. Step back into fiction

Now take a step towards reality with another idea. It may still be impossible, but it will certainly make more sense.

3. Step back into possibility

Then take a step back again into an idea that is actually feasible. It may not be clear yet how to implement the idea, but at least it looks feasible.

4. Walk back to now

Now create a plan by continuing to move back to current reality. Ask at each step, 'What happened before that?'

When you get back to now, turn and look towards the possibility and you will have your implementation plan.


1. I live in the open air.

2. I live in the open air, protected by a force-field.

3. I live with large windows that appear to be a force-field.

4. Glass so clean I cannot see it. Large sheets. Special low-friction coating. There are developments on this already under way...

How it works

Reverse planning works first by legitimizing idealistic, 'ridiculous' ideas, and then gradually working back towards the feasible. This prevents 'silly' ideas being thrown away because you cannot see how they might be achieved.

If you plan forwards, there are many possible futures and it is easy to lose your way. If you start at what you want and work backwards towards now, then there are far fewer paths as you see what is required.

See also


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