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Time tunnel for a sustainable business transformation


Set an ambitious goal, then work backward to achieve it

IbyIMD+ Published 14 September 2023 in Magazine • 10 min read • Audio availableAudio available

Using the Future Back tool can set your organization on the path to a successful sustainable business transformation. Knut Haanaes and Bryony Jansen-van Tuyll outline three practical steps to achieve lasting results. 

To design a strategy for a successful business transformation, imagine where ideally you want to be at a certain point in the future and then work out the steps needed to get there. This is the essence of the “Future Back” approach pioneered by Thomas Malnight, Professor Emeritus of Strategy and General Management at IMD.  

In our work, we see how the tool is particularly valuable for sustainability because many of the solutions to be leveraged might not yet exist, and it can help identify where innovation and collaboration may be needed. 

Future Back is a tool that encourages business leaders to temporarily disengage from the complications of daily decisions and project their company into an aspirational future. From there, it asks business leaders to work back to the present and create a stairway to far-reaching change. The concept works equally well for a range of business priorities, from growth and innovation to cost and operational efficiency. 

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