Workshop Exercises: Ideate

Reverse Brainstorming

Prompt your group to think of problems rather than solutions

Illustration of Reverse Brainstorming
Run a Reverse Brainstorming play

Timing: Discovery

Run time
30-45 minutes

Group size

Why: Flip creativity on its head and unlock new pathways to solutions by questioning the problem definition

When: Ideal to get unstuck and refresh the thinking process

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 the problem. Agree on the challenge or question you want to explore as a group. How Might We is a great way to frame the question.
  2. Reverse the problem. Instead of thinking of solutions, think of causes or things that could happen to make the idea worse.
    Problem: How might we lower spam mail?
    Anti-problem: How might we increase the amount of spam?
  3. Collect ideas. Generate ideas around how the problem could get worse. Accept every possible scenario without criticism – there are no bad ideas. Consider running a Crazy Eights or Round Robin to generate ideas.
  4. Reverse ideas again. Discuss the top ideas and reverse them back into solutions to those problems.
    Anti-solution: Display employee emails directly on company websites.
    Real solution: Remove employee emails from company websites.
  5. Evaluate ideas. Which are feasible and which will have the most impact?

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Relieve initial group awkwardness and establish a safe space

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