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Reverse Brainstorm

Reverse Brainstorm
ℹ️ Skip to key parts of the session by clicking on the chapter dots along the timeline.

In this Live Session, we do a run through of Reverse Brainstorm from Workshop Tactics.

👉 View the Miro board for this session

Session highlights

  • Reverse Brainstorm gets self-declared non-creative people, being extraordinarily creative!

  • This Tactic works on the principle that the solution is usually the opposite of the problem. By coming up with more problems, we can easily find more solutions.

  • It's easy to come up with bad ideas, everyone knows how to make something worse. Humans only got this far because we obsess with "what could go wrong"!

  • The "anti-idea" then gives a clear trajectory to the opposite... which is an actual idea.

  • Reverse Brainstorm can be used in tandem with a Journey Map by asking how each step of a user's journey can be made worse (and then the opposite is revealed, making it clear how the journey can be improved!)

  • If you make yourself vulnerable by sharing the silliest of ideas, you make others feel comfortable to do the same.

How to run Reverse Brainstorm remotely

  1. Have a set of How Might We questions that you then reverse. "How might we stop parcels left on the doorstep getting wet" → "How might we ensure parcels left on the doorstep get wet"

  2. Use Crazy Eights to get quick ideas once everyone has the HMW prompt. For remote sessions, writing an idea per sticky note is a fast way to get ideas down.

  3. Share back the ideas. Single out a participant to share, and instruct them to nominate someone else to go after them. It helps avoid awkward silence, keeps momentum going, and creates familiarity between participants.

  4. Get everyone to pick out some of their favourite "anti-ideas" from the pool of ideas that have just been shared.

  5. Individually, spend a few minutes coming up with the opposites of the anti-idea that have been picked out.

  6. Share back the "reversed ideas".

  7. Bonus step: Rule of Thumb. For each anti-idea → idea, ask participants to consider the "rule of thumb" they used to get the reversed idea. What is the underlying principle you're working to?

    These principles can be applied to your project, product, service in general. They give your team a common understanding of why you make design decisions, and guide your future work.

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