Clare Cooper

Often we can get a good idea of what the future holds by extrapolating current trends. This practice, referred to as forecasting, is used in many disciplines and industries. Forecasting works well if we have a high degree of confidence that the current trends will continue to evolve in a predictable manner. But this is not always the case. Prior to the invention of sound-on-film, Harry Warner, founder of Warner Bros. Studio, allegedly said, ‘Who the hell wants to hear actors talk?’ In a similar vein, in the early 1980s, Bill Gates, co-founder of Microsoft, allegedly said that 640K was enough memory for a personal computer. Forecasting can let us down when we are working with volatile, rapidly changing markets or trying to imagine the distant future. Rather than being driven by trends and trying to second-guess the future, the backcasting method enables teams and businesses to take more control over their chosen path.

Continued on pages 26–27 of Design. Think. Make. Break. Repeat.