Workshop Exercises: Ideate

Bad Idea Brainstorming

Produce the silliest, craziest, and most unethical ideas and turn them good

Illustration of Bad Idea Brainstorming
Run a Bad Idea Brainstorming play

Also called: Wost Possible Idea, Wrong Thinking

Alternative plays: Crazy Eights, Reverse Brainstorming, SCAMPER

Follow-up plays: Reverse Brainstorming

Timing: Discovery

Origin: Bryan Mattimore

Run time
20+ minutes

Group size

Why: Deconstructing seemingly rotten ideas can reveal powerful insights serving as foundations for good plans elsewhere

When: Useful to build trust and lower the pressure to be creative by removing self-editing and self-consciousness

This workshop exercise is part of the Workshop Patterns printed card deck.

A collection of workshop exercises that will help you ditch dull meetings and facilitate with confidence. It will help you master the design process and have more productive time with your team. The card deck will be ready for purchase in the end of 2023 and is now undergoing rigorous testing.

Reserve your deck!

Instructions for running this play

  1. Frame problem. Articulate on the challenge you want to explore. How Might We is a great way to frame it.
  2. Generate bad ideas. Spend time coming up with the worst ideas you can think of. Good starter questions are:
    • What are the worst ways to solve this problem?
    • What unethical products or services could we create?
    • What are some terrible taglines for our campaign?

      Consider using familiar ideation formats like the Crazy Eights, Round Robin, or just Silent Storming, to get the flow going.
  3. Convert bad ideas. Look back at your ideas and reflect whether any of the bad ideas can be turned into good ones. Search for the opposite of the worst attribute and consider substituting it with something better.

    Mix and match various awful ideas to see what happens.

Tips to perfect this play

Master and adapt the play to fit your context and needs.

Tip: Go first

Take the pressure off by letting your own worst ideas flow.

Tip: Quantity is king

Come up with as many bad ideas as we can.

Tip: Opposites

Search for the opposite of the worst attribute.

Tip: Rotate stations

Instead of passing ideas around, have teams rotate around static idea stations

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