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Backcasting from the future

“Neither past nor present, but the FUTURE has become the key to your existence, today. As without a future there is no meaning to life.”
– Tom Meyers, Futurize Yourself

Inspiration and insight comes in many ways. Recently I learned about a soon-to-be-published book called “The Grandfather Stories: A Learning Experience” by author Trish Comer, which is told from the perspective of a utopian future in which a grandfather is explaining to his grandson all the steps humanity took to arrive at this goal. 

This process is known as “backcasting.” Wikipedia describes backcasting as a “planning method that starts with defining a desirable future and then works backwards to identify policies and programs that will connect that specified future to the present.”

NASA used backcasting to plan the 1969 moon shot (https://bit.ly/3B7HMV2), and the Mars mission in 2020-2021. The Mars mission had long been a dream, but engineers kept getting stymied in their plans to get to the Red Planet. Finally, two young engineers took a different tack: imagining and visualizing we already had arrived successfully on Mars, and recounting from the future objective the steps that were taken to attain the desired end. 

In the Stylumia blog (https://bit.ly/3BBLyrb), this exact technique is discussed as a way to make even seemingly-impossible dreams reality. It differs from “forecasting,” which extrapolates a future from current and past information, resources and conditions. Stylumia writes, “Backcasting shifts the script…vision drives resources and not the other way around… In backcasting, we start with our bold ambition. Then convert that into actionable steps.”

This term is new to me, although the concept isn’t. But for those of you who have a dream for your business, I wanted to share this fresh way of envisioning your future, and working backwards from that vision to achieve it. Sometimes a creative new perspective is all you need to get you started on making dreams reality.

In the meantime, we’ve got a great lineup of informative and inspirational content for you in October, from our cover story on the renovation of the 5th Street/Independence Hall SEPTA station in Philadelphia to Bart Bettiga’s One-to-One interview with Dan Welch of Welch Tile and Marble, who put a whole new system to create prefabricated showers and panels into place in his company, to Carly Fiorina talking about the courage to lead in our Business section. Get to know Marco Morello in our Member Spotlight and learn more about spot bonding, and why it is such a terrible substitute for standards-based install methods on walls and floors in our Technical section. Industry members and experts on the NTCA Technical Team weigh in on bonding glass tiles to a fireplace, and CTEF’s Brad Denny shares his thoughts on the benefits of cooperative listening – whether in person or online.

Happy visioning, industry peeps! 

God bless,
[email protected]

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Editorial Director and Senior Writer for TileLetter and TileLetter ARTISAN

Lesley Goddin has been writing and journaling since her first diary at age 11. Her journey has taken her through a career in publishing and publicity, landing her the editor position of TileLetter and its special publications in 2006. Her goal is to educate, inspire, recognize and encourage those in the tile industry -- especially the tile and stone contractor.

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