Creating the Future – Hildy Gottlieb (2011)

Hildy Gottlieb talks about creating the future at TEDx Tucson in 2011

What does it take to create a healthy, vibrant world? Hildy Gottlieb shares a simple framework for creating powerful change in communities and around the world. 

Hildy has co-founded Creating the Future, whose mission is to make visionary community improvement the norm in social change work, rather than the exception. 

She states: 

“We talk about the world we DON’T want. We don’t talk about the world we DO want. When we eliminate a negative, our vision is limited. The power lies in focusing on the positive. When we focus on what is possible, we cure and solve things along the way to what we really want.

For everything in life we reverse engineer. When we want to get the airport on time and want to know what time we have to get up. We work backwards from the time of departure in logical steps to determine the time to wake up. However, for organisation and communities, we start with today. We tether ourselves to study, analysis and assess today. When we know where we are today, we then take a little step ahead into where we think we might conceivably be in a year’s time. However, that step is still tethered to today.

The reason for this is because of fear. We talk about our problems. We predict everything that we have on the line and use this to predict into the uncertain future.

When we reverse engineer the process and ask people to picture to future, the fear is no longer needed. It creates a cause and effect path that is no longer uncertain and leads to somewhere knowing. Picture the world, community and organisation that you want and using that vision will help you back cast step by step in a knowing way.

It is more practical to work to for something that is possible. We can achieve our height of creativity when we are not afraid. By reverse engineering the future that we want, we bypass the fear and work more creatively towards the goal.

Look up and find that path to creating the future you want.”


Backcasting Method: 

Step 1: Determine the timeline

Step 2: Create a baseline (baseline current state “TODAY”)

Step 3: Define and draw out the future states

Step 4: Determine Actions and Indicators

Step 5: Determine the Risks and the Opportunities. 

Step 6: Create an Action Plan


For more information see Backcasting slides

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s