Sustainicum Collection

Consus The aim of the project is to establish a regional science-society network for sustainability innovations in Albania and Kosovo in order to strengthen the connection and collaboration of institutions in the field of higher education, research and practice.

Resource facts

  • 5 to 10 students
    More than 10 students
  • Up to 3 lecture units
    4-7 lecture units
  • Internet connection necessary
  • English, German

Resource Description

Additional attachments

Interactive Backcasting(Resource ID: 11)

In this method one starts with defining a desirable scenario for the future and then the group will analyse the way towards it. By planning the way backwards – starting from the goal – concrete steps and milestones can be defined.

Interactive backcasting is used to define and assess future scenarios and also to work on the concrete implementation process.

By looking at complex situations in an integrative way, students will be aware of how interrelated they are but at the same time they will be equipped with a tool to handle this complexity. Since the focus is on developing comprehensive strategies to attain the desired tomorrow, this tool is of practical relevance.

Didactical description of the method

Preparation: Initially, the group develops a future scenario (plus 25 to 50 years), which should solve a complex problem by a paradigm shift. By means of example, this could be a “future without fossil fuels for individual mobility”. The facilitator can also use creativity tools (6-3-5 Brainwriting, Station Talk – also to be found on the Sustainicum platform) to develop these scenarios. In fact the actual development of the scenarios is not that important since this exercise focuses on the interventions necessary to attain it.

In a second step, these future scenarios will be analysed in small working groups to find out how to realize this common future with small interventions that start today. The group analyses the following factors: feasibility with state-of-the-art technology, obstacles and opportunities on the way, the biggest problem during implementation and how it could be overcome, an implementation plan including milestones. The process has been illustrated in a document attached.

After this session it is advisable to give the possibility for feedback in the plenary, where the interventions and opportunities and obstacles on the way towards the future scenario can be addressed.

Necessary Documents/Materials

  • Flipchart, markers for each group.
  • The interactive backcasting process has been illustrated in a document attached.
Type of teaching method
  • Discussion / debate
  • Simulation
Related Teaching Resources
No specific previous knowledge / related resources required
Topics of sustainability
This method is very suitable for interdisciplinary work – also for STEM subjects due to the technical inventions that are often necessary for a change of paradigm.
Examples for the scenarios could be a “future without scarce resources through the use of cradle to grave products (100% recyclable)” or a “world without nuclear weapons”.
Strengths of the method
Students will know how to formulate positive future scenarios without immediately thinking over their implications.
Students will learn how to attain a desirable future by concrete interventions in the current situation.
Funded by
Funded by the Austrian Federal Ministry of Science and Research within the framework of the call "Projekt MINT-Massenfächer" (2011/12)

Comments Write Comment


MMag. Nadine Shovakar


Shovakar Nadine
This teaching resource is allocated to following University:
KFUG - Karl-Franzens-University Graz


Creative Commons

Type of teaching method

  • Discussion / debate
  • Simulation