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Reverse Brainstorming


Creative tools > Reverse Brainstorming

When to use it | How to use it | Example | How it works | See also


When to use it

Use it when people are finding difficulty in creating ideas.

Use it when you have people with judging and convergent preferences.

Use it when people have more strongly analytic than creative preferences.

Use it as a different method for idea creating, to get even more ideas.

Use when you are able to conceptually reverse the problem.



    X      Long



  X        Psychological



      X    Group


How to use it

Reverse the problem to 'how to cause it'

Change the wording of the problem on which you are working from how to solve it to how to cause it.

For example, when looking at a customer satisfaction problem, ask 'How can we cause customers to be dissatisfied?'

Identify ways of causing the problem

Use Brainstorming or any other method (or a combination of methods) to identify different ways of causing the problem. You can use creative approaches or analytic methods.

An analytic approach would list all of the available things or steps of a process and then break these down further. For example, causing customer satisfaction could isolate when they are on the phone and the person to whom they are talking cannot answer their question.

Find ways of preventing the problem being caused

Now use creative or analytic methods to identify ways of preventing the problem causes identified in the previous step from being caused.

Thus, for example, when the customer is on the phone, the operator may be trained to classify their problem and hand them to the right person.


I am seeking to to keep a folding chair open.

I reword it as 'how to make a folding chair fold up'

I use a spring, an elastic band, a lever.

I reverse the lever so the spring or elastic keeps the chair open.

How it works

Many people find it easier to be judgemental or analytic, particularly as these methods are widely taught within our education system.

Reversal also takes another position, jumping to an opposite viewpoint. This switch gives a new perspective and hence can lead to new ideas.

See also

Jumping, Brainstorming, Reversal, Reverse Planning



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