Backcasting 101

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My IA Summit 2008 Pre-Con on Backcasting for Information Architects. Includes info on conducting the method and using the ORID facilitation framework to support the backcasting method.

Transcript

  • Backcasting 101

    Collaborative Strategy Development for Information Architects

    Matthew Milan

    Director of Insight and Planning

    Critical Mass

    matthewm@criticalmass.com

    *

    ASIS&T IA Summit Pre-Conference

    April 10, 2008

    ASIS&T

    1320 Fenwick Lane, Suite 510

    Silver Spring, MD 20910, USA

    Phone (301) 495-0900

    Fax (301) 495-0810

    asis@asis.org

    *

  • Backcasting 101

    Objectives

    History

    Method and Madness

    Planning and Facilitation

    Method Walkthrough

    Break

    Backcasting Exercise

    Break

    Exercise Debrief

    Reporting and Informing

    Selling Backcasting

    Workshop Overview

    *

  • Backcasting 101

    Workshop Objectives

    *

    Expose you to the thinking and theory behind the method, and how it came to be used by information architects.

    Show you how to plan, facilitate and conduct a backcasting session.

    Give you walkthrough of the method and then conduct a short backcasting session with you, followed by a debrief

    Give you some ideas on how to think about documenting and leveraging the results of a backcasting session

    Give you some thoughts on how to sell the backcasting method to peers and/or clients

  • Backcasting 101

    History

    *

  • Backcasting 101

    Backcasting: History

    *

    Scenario Design as Strategy

    Robinsons Backcasting

    Backcasting as Information Architecture

  • Backcasting 101

    Backcasting: History

    *

    Scenario Design as Strategy

    (Scenario Emergence as Strategy)

  • Backcasting 101

    Backcasting: History

    *

    1950s

    Proto-backcastng

    AT&T

  • Backcasting 101

    Backcasting: History

    *

    1970s

    Multi-Scenario Planning

    Shell

  • Backcasting 101

    Backcasting: History

    *

    1990s

    Great Whale Project

    Hydro-Qubec

  • Backcasting 101

    Backcasting: History

    *

    John Robinson

    University of Waterloo

    University of British Columbia

    SDRI

    IRES

    GBFP

  • Backcasting 101

    Backcasting: History

    *

    Futures Under Glass

    1990 Futures Under Glass A Recipe for People Who Hate to Predict

    Backwards Looking Analysis

    Explicitly Normative and Design Oriented

    Not what future was is likely to occur, But how desirable futures might be obtained

  • Backcasting 101

    Backcasting: History

    *

    Future Subjunctive

    2003 Future Subjunctive: Backcasting as Social Learning

    Subjunctive: designating a mood, the forms of which are employed to denote an action or a state as conceived (and not as fact) and therefore used to expressa contingent, hypothetical or prospective event Oxford English Dictionary

    The desired future is not determined in advance of analysis, but is an emergent property of engaging with users and project partners

  • Backcasting 101

    Backcasting: History

    *

    IA Institute

    Supported research in 2005 on the development of strategy tools based on environmental planning techniques.

    Cumulative Effects Assessment

    Backcasting

    http://iainstitute.org/documents/research/results/Environmental.Assessment.Tools.pdf

  • Backcasting 101

    Backcasting: History

    *

    Why Information Architecture?

    The structural design of shared information environments

    Increasingly, IAs are getting a seat at the strategy table

    The Incomplete Toolkit

  • Backcasting 101

    Backcasting: History

    *

    The Strategic Design of Shared Information Environments

    Information Architecture as visual organization and modeling

    Information Architecture as a thinking framework

    Information Architecture as structuring information environments through time

  • Backcasting 101

    Backcasting: History

    *

    The challenges with Big Backcasting

    Complex, model based and driven by quantitative analysis

    Best suited to skilled practitioners with experience in the method.

    Focus on the method, not the method of the method

    No simple framework for building a conceptual model of the problem space

    Resource intensive and time consuming

  • Backcasting 101

    Backcasting: History

    *

    Simplifying the Method

    What weve done:

    Taken a complex quantitative method and made it simple and qualitative

    Wrapped into a workshop format that can be done in a day

    Tied it to a basic framework for identifying measurement indicators

    Developed a visual thinking framework to capture stakeholder outputs

    Baked in an established facilitation framework to drive consensus

  • Backcasting 101

    Method and Madness

    *

  • Backcasting 101

    Backcasting: Method

    *

    Turbulent Environments

  • Backcasting 101

    Backcasting: Methods and Theory

    *

    Turbulent Environments

  • Backcasting 101

    Backcasting: Methods and Theory

    *

    Turbulent Environments

  • Backcasting 101

    Backcasting: Methods and Theory

    *

    Strategy is Turbulent

  • Backcasting 101

    Backcasting: Methods and Theory

    *

    Stability :: Complexity :: Chaos

  • Backcasting 101

    Backcasting: Methods and Theory

    *

    Wicked Problems

    The problem is not understood until after formulation of a solution.

    Stakeholders have radically different world views and different frames for understanding the problem.

    Constraints and resources to solve the problem change over time.

    The problem is never solved

  • Backcasting 101

    Backcasting: Methods and Theory

    *

    Backcasting is a Navigational Tool

  • Backcasting 101

    Backcasting: Methods and Theory

    *

    With Backcasting, YOU are the guide

  • Backcasting 101

    Backcasting: Methods and Theory

    *

    There IS more then one path

  • Backcasting 101

    Backcasting: Methods and Theory

    *

    Scouting Ahead

  • Backcasting 101

    Backcasting: Methods and Theory

    *

    Set the timeframe

    tnow

    tfuture

  • Backcasting 101

    Backcasting: Methods and Theory

    *

    Baseline the current state
  • Backcasting 101

    Backcasting: Methods and Theory

    *

    Define Possible Future States

    Future 1

    Future 2

    Future 3

  • Backcasting 101

    Backcasting: Methods and Theory

    *

    Work Backwards and

    Identify Actions and

    Indicators

    Future 1

    Future 2

    Future 3

  • Backcasting 101

    Backcasting: Methods and Theory

    *

    Assess Risks andOpportunities

    Future 1

    Future 2

    Future 3

  • Backcasting 101

    Backcasting: Methods and Theory

    *

    Q:So great, this is (just) a bunch of post-it notes on the wall

    A:Yes, in the same way that a site architecture is (just) a bunch of boxes and arrows

    Dont let the participants focus just on the visual thinking and miss the value of the process. There is value in both, but the maps role is to bring the process to the forefront, not to serve as the sole output of your workshop. The value is in the shared understanding of the problem space and the possible outcomes.

  • Backcasting 101

    Planning and Facilitation

    *

  • Backcasting 101

    Backcasting: Planning and Facilitation

    *

    Planning Overview

    4 Core Components:

    Location

    Materials

    Attendees

    Facilitation

  • Backcasting 101

    Backcasting: Planning and Facilitation

    *

    Planning Location

  • Backcasting 101

    Backcasting: Planning and Facilitation

    *

    Planning Materials

    Youll need at a minimum:

    A wall that is 12 long

    300 8x6 post-it notes in at least four colors

    200 5x3 post-it notes in at least four colors

    A full roll of masking tape

    A dozen sharpies

    Nice to have:

    Flipcharts, Whiteboard, Kraft Paper

  • Backcasting 101

    Backcasting: Planning and Facilitation

    *

    Planning Stakeholders and Attendees

    No set size or standard makeup for your group, but:

    Small groups may not include the range of inputs you need

    Large groups may be difficult to control

    Be inclusive rather then exclusive, but dont be exhaustive

    Invite thinkers in addition to owners

  • Backcasting 101

    Backcasting: Planning and Facilitation

    *

    Planning Setup

    Arrive early

    Prep the room

    Check the facilitation guides

    No laptops, no devices, no phones

    No participants over the phone

    If possible, plan for a speedy takedown

    Bring a camera; audio is nice but optional

  • Backcasting 101

    Backcasting: Planning and Facilitation

    *

    Planning Session Cadence

    Dependent of the following factors:

    Session length

    Number of attendees

    Number of possible end states you are exploring

    Attendee comfort level with structured brainstorming

    Organizational and political alignment of the participants

  • Backcasting 101

    Backcasting: Planning and Facilitation

    *

    Facilitation Overview

    The method of the method

    Backcasting sessions became more productive as more capable facilitation techniques were applied

    Started with were doing facilitation and moved to a formal facilitation method.

    The choice of how you facilitate the backcasting session is up to you; consider the needs of the p