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Backcasting 

Transformation
Aleksi Neuvonen and Johannes Koponen
Changing cities
Positive futures
Backcasting
Nordic Urban Foresight
Co-creational 

backcasting session
Changing cities
1984 2015 2040
03.28.14
Cities change Cities don’t change
2016 2040
Drone logistics
Automated vehicles
3D printed buildings
Augmented reality
+4°C climate change
Resource depletion...
2016 2040
How can we avoid 

undesirable futures?
How should we harness potential
of technological and social
innovations ...
1. Disruptive technological opportunities are shaping
cities radically
2. Yet even more important is how cities tackle
wic...
Why positive futures?
Cities have 

long-term goals
Cities aim to be
forerunners in technology
”We thought that the old recipes
of Nokia would work also in the
new world. /-/ Nokia looked at
the sales of past months w...
“Right to security,
right to health,
right to learning.
All these three
change
fundamentally.”
Risto Siilasmaa,
Chairman o...
Foresight is about alternatives
•We do foresight to imagine visions of
otherness 

(alternative futures).
•If no such repr...
WHY WE DO SCENARIOS?
• Scenarios help decision making by revealing possible futures.
Present
Image of future #1
2015 2020 ...
Backcasting
& Backcasting
Forecasting
Present
Image of future #1
Image of future #2
Image of future #3
2015 2020 2025 2030 2035 2040
FORECASTING VIEW
Scenarios
...
Forecasting
• Causality and determinism
• Dominant trends
• Need to adapt and survive
Backcasting
• Causality and intentio...
2016 2040
Desirable 

Futures
Possible

Futures
HOW WE WORK
HOW WE WORK
Sustainable
Lifestyles 2050
workshop, Helsinki
Building better
Tanzania 2040
workshop,
Bagamoyo
HOW WE WORK
1. We need to think long term (over 10 years)
2. Business and cities need positive goals 

to create positive change and f...
Nordic Urban 

Foresight
– A NOVEL WAY TO DEVELOP CITIES
#smartcity #urban #transformation #renewal #foresight #cocreation #testing
#smartups #serv...
Home delivery
Smart
offices
Ride sharing
Low-
carbon
food
Urban farming
Shared spaces
Smart metering
Pop up stores
Mobility...
3 Global Scenarios
Logics…
scenarios…
2035 20402030202520202015
LANDSCAPE
LEVEL
AUSTERITY
MINDSET NEW WORLD ORDER
OF SOLIDARITY
RENEWABLES
BOOM GREEN
GROWTH
HIG...
Startup testbeds
Home delivery
Smart
offices
Ride sharing
Low-
carbon
food
Urban farming
Shared spaces
Smart metering
Pop up stores
Mobility...
Nordic Urban Foresight:

4 takeaways
1. Long-term goal
2. Niche level scanning
3. Transformation of rigid factors
4. Testb...
Changing cities
Positive futures
Backcasting
Nordic Urban Foresight
Co-creational 

backcasting session
Co-creational
backcasting 

session
Scenarios
2015 2020 2025 2030 2035 2040
EMISSIONS
-40% GLOBALLY
Image of future #1
Ima...
Two groups in the main hall, one in the second floor,
one in the meeting room.
Each of the 4 groups divides into 3 subgrou...
2040 Mobility
Think Lisa, 45-year-old woman living in Palo Alto. Describe a typical daily trip she travels.
What is the bi...
Combine your subgroup ideas to the whole group.
Write your ideas in post-its and attach them to the
timeline poster.
What ...
Assuming the requirements of your future timeline
around 2040, what should happen already around
2026?
Attach post-its to ...
Assuming the progress between 2026-2026, what
should start happening already now?
Attach post-its to the posters.
What sho...
Let’s compare scenarios
Based on scenario what would be the single
most important investment, shift in regulation or
other...
CO-CREATIONAL FUTURES PROCESS
Exploration
Execution
Expertise & Empathy
WE AIM FOR
METHODS 

TO DO IT
Delphi
Desktop
resea...
1. Long-term goal
2. Niche level scanning
3. Transformation of rigid factors
4. Testbed experimentation
Nordic Urban Fores...
Backcasting Transformation towards smart and sustainable cities
Backcasting Transformation towards smart and sustainable cities
Backcasting Transformation towards smart and sustainable cities
Backcasting Transformation towards smart and sustainable cities
Backcasting Transformation towards smart and sustainable cities
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Backcasting Transformation towards smart and sustainable cities

A presentation held in Nordic Innovation House Palo Alto by Johannes Koponen and Aleksi Neuvonen in the seminar Backcasting Transformation: Smart + Sustainable Cities in 2040.

Backcasting Transformation towards smart and sustainable cities

  1. 1. Backcasting 
 Transformation Aleksi Neuvonen and Johannes Koponen
  2. 2. Changing cities Positive futures Backcasting Nordic Urban Foresight Co-creational 
 backcasting session
  3. 3. Changing cities
  4. 4. 1984 2015 2040 03.28.14
  5. 5. Cities change Cities don’t change
  6. 6. 2016 2040 Drone logistics Automated vehicles 3D printed buildings Augmented reality +4°C climate change Resource depletion Food scarcity Extreme 
 inequality
  7. 7. 2016 2040 How can we avoid 
 undesirable futures? How should we harness potential of technological and social innovations for making desirable futures to happen? What impact should these goals and visions have on our lifestyles and expectations on the future? Desirable 
 Futures Possible
 Futures
  8. 8. 1. Disruptive technological opportunities are shaping cities radically 2. Yet even more important is how cities tackle wicked problems: become carbon neutral, decrease resource consumption, avoid congestion and alleviate segregation 3. This requires combination of top-down and bottom- up solutions 4. Human experience matters. Changing cities: 4 takeaways
  9. 9. Why positive futures?
  10. 10. Cities have 
 long-term goals Cities aim to be forerunners in technology
  11. 11. ”We thought that the old recipes of Nokia would work also in the new world. /-/ Nokia looked at the sales of past months when we should have taken a look at what is happening in 2020.” Jorma Ollila
  12. 12. “Right to security, right to health, right to learning. All these three change fundamentally.” Risto Siilasmaa, Chairman of the Board, Nokia
  13. 13. Foresight is about alternatives •We do foresight to imagine visions of otherness 
 (alternative futures). •If no such representations exist, there would be no actions, just reactions.“Man acts, not ‘because…’ but ‘in order to…’” (von Jhering 1914).
  14. 14. WHY WE DO SCENARIOS? • Scenarios help decision making by revealing possible futures. Present Image of future #1 2015 2020 2025 2030 2035 2040 Possible Futures Image of future #2 Image of future #3 • Scenarios show a logical chain of events that demonstrate how future events are linked
  15. 15. Backcasting
  16. 16. & Backcasting Forecasting
  17. 17. Present Image of future #1 Image of future #2 Image of future #3 2015 2020 2025 2030 2035 2040 FORECASTING VIEW Scenarios Scenarios 2015 2020 2025 2030 2035 2040 EMISSIONS -40% GLOBALLY Image of future #1 Image of future #2 Image of future #3 Present BACKCASTING VIEW
  18. 18. Forecasting • Causality and determinism • Dominant trends • Need to adapt and survive Backcasting • Causality and intentions • Desirable futures • Need to guide transformation FORECASTING VIEW
  19. 19. 2016 2040 Desirable 
 Futures Possible
 Futures
  20. 20. HOW WE WORK
  21. 21. HOW WE WORK
  22. 22. Sustainable Lifestyles 2050 workshop, Helsinki Building better Tanzania 2040 workshop, Bagamoyo HOW WE WORK
  23. 23. 1. We need to think long term (over 10 years) 2. Business and cities need positive goals 
 to create positive change and flourish 3. Backcasting helps to navigate beyond and with disruptive changes Positive futures 
 and Backcasting: 
 3 takeaways
  24. 24. Nordic Urban 
 Foresight
  25. 25. – A NOVEL WAY TO DEVELOP CITIES #smartcity #urban #transformation #renewal #foresight #cocreation #testing #smartups #services #energy #retrofitting #startup #walkability #nordic NORDIC CITIES BEYOND DIGITAL DISRUPTION
  26. 26. Home delivery Smart offices Ride sharing Low- carbon food Urban farming Shared spaces Smart metering Pop up stores Mobility-as-a- service Sharing economy Street food Repair services Smart home Gamification Geolocating Property management Crowd funding P2P commerce Neigborhood apps Co-working spaces Fab lab Free floating vehicle services Connected vehicles Crowd sourced logistics Cargo bikes E-bikes Personal data services Microwork Turnkey energy solutions Heating-as-a- service Solarenergy-as- a-service Social cooking Super small homes Co-working homes SMART MOBILITY SMART BUILDING SMART PRODUCTION
  27. 27. 3 Global Scenarios
  28. 28. Logics… scenarios…
  29. 29. 2035 20402030202520202015 LANDSCAPE LEVEL AUSTERITY MINDSET NEW WORLD ORDER OF SOLIDARITY RENEWABLES BOOM GREEN GROWTH HIGH TRUST ON NATION STATES GREEN JOBS GLOBAL PRICE ON EMISSIONS SEARCH FOR New Growth CIRCULAR ECONOMY GLOBAL EMISSIONS HAVE DECREASED BY 50% REGIME LEVEL CLEANTECH IS DEFINED AS THE FOCUS OF HIGHER EDUCATION STRICT ENERGY EFFICIENCY STANDARDS ARE SET FOR HOMES NEW CLIMATE TREATY LAHTI ADJUSTS ITS POLICY TO THE NEW CLIMATE TREATY ENERGY SOLUTIONS BY SMARTUPS ARE BOUGHT BY LARGE CORPORATIONS SMART HOME SOLUTIONS EXPERIENCE A BOOM SUPERMARKETS ARE TURNED INTO HIGHLY AUTOMATED STORAGE SPACES RIDESHARING BECOMES PART OF THE REGIONAL/NATIONAL TRANSPORT SYSTEMLAHTI ENERGIA TAKES A LEADING ROLE IN SOLAR ENERGY PRODUCTION LAHTI CARRIES OUT MAJOR RETROFITTING AND REFURBISHING PROJECTS THE TRAMLINE IS TAKEN INTO USE LAHTI IS A VITAL AND ATTRACTIVE CARBON NEUTRAL CITY Global Deal in Lahti NICHE LEVEL LAHTI RECEIVES EU INVESTMENT/FUNDING FOR NEW CONSUMER CLEANTECH CENTRE SOLAR PANELS ARE INSTALLED ON THE ROOFTOPS OF THE CITY CENTRE. TOGETHER WITH OTHER CITIES, LAHTI REGIONAL TRANSPORT LAUNCHES A MOBILITY-AS-A-SERVICE APPLICATION FIRST SUPERMARKET CHAIN STARTS CROWDSOURCED HOME DELIVERY WITH A RIDESHARING START-UP A LAHTI-BASED RESEARCH CENTRE BECOMES KNOWN AS AN INTERNATIONALLY LEADING TESTBED FOR NEW TECHNOLOGIES 2025 2030 2035 20402020
  30. 30. Startup testbeds
  31. 31. Home delivery Smart offices Ride sharing Low- carbon food Urban farming Shared spaces Smart metering Pop up stores Mobility-as-a- service Sharing economy Street food Repair services Smart home Gamification Geolocating Property management Crowd funding P2P commerce Neigborhood apps Co-working spaces Fab lab Free floating vehicle services Connected vehicles Crowd sourced logistics Cargo bikes E-bikes Personal data services Microwork Turnkey energy solutions Heating-as-a- service Solarenergy-as- a-service Social cooking Super small homes Co-working homes SMART MOBILITY SMART BUILDING SMART PRODUCTION
  32. 32. Nordic Urban Foresight:
 4 takeaways 1. Long-term goal 2. Niche level scanning 3. Transformation of rigid factors 4. Testbed experimentation
  33. 33. Changing cities Positive futures Backcasting Nordic Urban Foresight Co-creational 
 backcasting session
  34. 34. Co-creational backcasting 
 session Scenarios 2015 2020 2025 2030 2035 2040 EMISSIONS -40% GLOBALLY Image of future #1 Image of future #2 Image of future #3 Present BACKCASTING VIEW
  35. 35. Two groups in the main hall, one in the second floor, one in the meeting room. Each of the 4 groups divides into 3 subgroups during the first task: •mobility •energy •lifestyles Divide into four groups
  36. 36. 2040 Mobility Think Lisa, 45-year-old woman living in Palo Alto. Describe a typical daily trip she travels. What is the biggest change in mobility compared to this day? 2040 Energy Describe the energy production and use in Palo Alto in two pie charts. What is the biggest change in energy use and production by 2040? 2040 Lifestyles Think Lisa, 45-year-old woman living in Palo Alto. What does she do daily (at work, home, etc.). What is the biggest change in lifestyles by 2040? Goal: -95% GHG emissions in Palo Alto 2040 10 minutes to answer in subgroups
  37. 37. Combine your subgroup ideas to the whole group. Write your ideas in post-its and attach them to the timeline poster. What is Palo Alto all about in 2040?
  38. 38. Assuming the requirements of your future timeline around 2040, what should happen already around 2026? Attach post-its to the posters. What can happen already by 2026?
  39. 39. Assuming the progress between 2026-2026, what should start happening already now? Attach post-its to the posters. What should start already now? 5 minutes to answer individually
  40. 40. Let’s compare scenarios Based on scenario what would be the single most important investment, shift in regulation or other change to promote now?
  41. 41. CO-CREATIONAL FUTURES PROCESS Exploration Execution Expertise & Empathy WE AIM FOR METHODS 
 TO DO IT Delphi Desktop research Futures table and states Expert interviews Scenario writing Backcasting Policy recommen dations Presenting the scenarios Business models Visualization applyanalyzetestspeculateideate scan environmentunderstand
  42. 42. 1. Long-term goal 2. Niche level scanning 3. Transformation of rigid factors 4. Testbed experimentation Nordic Urban Foresight:
 4 takeaways

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