You don’t always have to go forward to be successful. Sometimes the best way to make progress is to take a step back. However, most of us are so focused on going forward we never realize the best way is over our shoulders. If you think this sounds crazy and counter-intuitive, it is. But it also works. Or we would have never gotten to the moon.

In Ozan Varol’s forthcoming book Think Like a Rocket Scientist, Varol gives an introduction to the successful thinking strategies of, well, rocket scientists. These are the same thought processes that helped humankind reach the moon, land rovers on Mars, and innovate the galaxy. Some of them are pretty straight forward, but others are downright backward. So the next time you want to innovate or achieve a big goal, try doing the reverse, inverting, or backcasting.

Move in reverse.

Instead of following the common best practice or industry-standard, try doing the reverse. Maybe not technically going backward, but while your rivals are all clustering in one direction, you go where they aren’t and thrive.

Take Xero, for example. When everyone in the accounting software industry was going in the direction of desktop applications, the head of Xero, thought, what if I went where no one is going? So in 2005, he went in the direction of cloud-based platforms before those were the thing to do.

Varol points out in business all the low hanging fruit ideas are plucked. Everything that is easy has already been done. Sometimes doing the reverse is the only way you can beat (and differentiate yourself from) the competition. This is what Harley-Davidson did. When all their competitors were competing on price, the company decided to focus on customer joy.

Invert it all.

Inverting is all about going in the opposite direction. This is how GPS and magnetic turbines were developed. Before there was trusty ol’ GPS to get us to Whole Foods, there was the Russian satellite Sputnik circling the earth. Sputnik wasn’t good at giving directions but it was good at inspiring scientists. Two physicists, William Guier and George Weiffenbach, were able to use Sputnik’s audio signals to learn how to calculate its speed and trajectory of orbit.

This was great, but the inverse would be better—using an orbiting object to find a stationary place on earth. That was the idea of Frank McClure, the director of the Applied Physics Laboratory. He asked the two physicists to invert the process. Now, a few decades later, we can use our phones to find a local coffee shop.

Backcast yourself into the future.

Backcasting is about imagining we have already achieved our goal. Start by imagining your perfect job, a groundbreaking device, or a service that will wow the public. Then work backward to see how you would get to that point.

Backcasting was the method NASA used to make the first moon landing a reality. Scientists and engineers imagined they had landed safely on the moon and were exploring it. Then they thought, how we would get there? What would we need to travel and keep people safe? Well, they thought, you would need a vehicle, protective suits, a powerful energy source, etc. Then the teams worked backward until they had figured out the path forward.

Varol explains that Amazon does a similar process with its new products and services. The company performs thought experiments first. Its teams write internal press releases talking about new products the company hasn’t invented yet, describing the problems the products would solve, and how people would react to them. If the press release wins over the company, the product is developed and the release is used to guide the development process.

So when trying to find that new, great idea or method of getting to your goal don’t go forward. Try to reverse or invert the process, or imagine your final goal and work backward. You might just discover by going in the opposite direction, you find the path where you want to go.