Zoom =

Reverse Engineering on Zoom

Invite participants to imagine that they’re in a future where you’ve accomplished your goals or achieved perfection in regards to a particular concept. Viewing that finished product or project, what steps were taken to accomplish it? What pitfalls were avoided? Have them record their reflections on paper. Let them know how they'll be sharing their writing before starting.

Step-by-Step Instructions

  1. Invite the group to pull out something to write on, this would be opening a blank word document, pulling out a piece of paper, or even using the notes app on their phone. Let them know if you'll be collecting these or if you'll just have them use them to kickstart the discussion.
  2. Ask everyone to take 2 minutes to consider the project, product, or topic at hand and to imagine in the future that you've accomplished all your goals, the product is made, the project complete, etc. Invite them to write specifics of what that looks like.
  3. Now ask them to consider, from that ideal future, to look back on what it took to get there. What steps were necessary, pitfalls were avoided, etc. Invite them to be as specific and tangible as possible.
  4. Once everyone has done that move to a discussion if desired in pairs, small groups, or in the full group.


Reverse Engineering is a great process when you want to help people remember what we're working towards and to avoid people getting stuck in the practical "next step."

Additional Resources


Author HeadshotTacoma, WA

Activity by Meg Bolger

Co-developer of Facilitator Cards. Co-author of Unlocking the Magic of Facilitation. Adamant believer that facilitation can change the world.

Facilitation Testers Needed

This activity by Meg Bolger would really benefit from other facilitators testing it, tweaking it, and reporting back. If you give it a try in your virtual facilitation, all we ask is that you tell us how it went.

The main things we're wondering are regarding the context you facilitated it in (with whom, and toward what goal), how well it worked (what worked and what didn't), and in what ways you altered the instructions to make it work for you.