Product Club

Reverse Brainstorm

Reverse Brainstorm


What is a Reverse Brainstorm workshop?

This workshop tactic allows you to come up with solutions to the worst, most despicable things that could derail your project.

This exercise leads to absurd suggestions, which can give you ground-breaking solutions when reversed.

Tip: try asking people for things that would get you all fired if you really want their most despicable ideas.

This tactic works well with Crazy Eights. It’s a good idea to have a Problem Statement or How Might We... beforehand, so you have a clear starting point. Follow up this tactic with Rose, Thorn, Bud.

How to run a Reverse Brainstorm workshop

1. Identify and write down your problem or How Might We... question on a large surface so it’s clear for everyone to see.

2. Reverse the problem, for example:

Problem: How might we increase customer satisfaction?

Anti-problem: How might we increase customer dissatisfaction?

3. Run Crazy Eights to generate ideas for the anti-problem.

4. After sharing the ideas, collect them and randomly distribute the anti-ideas back amongst the group.

5. Ask the group to reverse the ideas they've been given. These will now become real solutions for the actual problem. For example:

Anti-solution: Not returning customer calls immediately upon a call request.

Real solution: Returning customer calls immediately upon a call request.

6. Do it again to gather even more ideas, or evaluate what you’ve got with Rose, Thorn, Bud.

Origin: Alex Osborn, 1938

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