Backcasting and Inflection Points

Ann Miura-Ko, Floodgate
In conversation with: Tom Byers, Stanford University

Insight development precedes customer development, observes Stanford Management Science and Engineering lecturer and Floodgate founding partner Ann Miura-Ko — you have to have an idea you want to pursue before you can start testing it. So how can founders increase their chances of landing on a transformational idea? She advocates for backcasting — envisioning a compelling future and then working backwards to create it. Beyond that, she says, entrepreneurs should be identifying inflection points that might lead to exponential change by observing adoption curves, technology shifts, and regulatory changes.