Digital Marketing

Reverse Brainstorming

Sometimes the creative output of a team can be enhanced by giving them a fresh perspective. Take the brainstorming process, for example. Brainstorm the opposite of what you want and see what happens. The tool is called a contingency diagram, and that’s how it works.

Imagine your team is supposed to brainstorm ways to increase customer loyalty. Instead of looking for ideas to improve loyalty, the team looks for ways to decrease customer loyalty. Trying to improve employee morale? Brainstorm to destroy morality.

The power of the tool is in its ability to harness negative energy (cynicism, sarcasm, hostility, etc.) and use it to spark creativity. If your team is in this kind of frame of mind, it’s very difficult to generate enthusiasm for brainstorming. By giving them a chance to vent their negativity, you will witness amazing creativity.

After the team has filled the wall with ideas to lower morale or drive customers away, they are ready to begin identifying possible solutions to their problem.

Ask the team to go through the list and come up with ideas to solve the problem. Many solutions can be found simply by reversing the ideas on the list. Others can be discovered through interesting patterns and combinations of negative ideas. In any case, the list of “bad” ideas is a tremendous stimulus to generating “good” ideas.

The next time you’re faced with the same old problems and a team tired of trying to solve them, free the team to find ways to make the problem worse. It will be fun, energizing and, above all, effective.

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