Reverse Brainstorming - Deepstash

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Reverse Brainstorming: A Different Approach to Brainstorming

Reverse Brainstorming

Reverse Brainstorming

Reverse brainstorming is used when it is difficult to identify solutions to the problem directly. It involves combining brainstorming and reversal techniques.

Start with one of two reverse questions.

  • Instead of asking "How do I solve or prevent this problem?" ask, "How could I cause the problem?"
  • Instead of asking "How do I achieve these results?" ask, "How could I achieve the opposite?"

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Brainstorming

It encourages people to come up with thoughts and ideas that can, at first, seem a bit crazy. Some of these ideas can be crafted into original, creative solutions to a problem, while others can ...

Brainstorming for problem solving
  • It brings team members' diverse experience into play. It increases the richness of ideas explored, which means that you can often find better solutions.
  • It can help you get buy-in from team members for the solution chosen – after all, they're likely to be more committed to an approach if they were involved in developing it. 
  • It helps team members bond, as they solve problems in a positive, rewarding environment.
Why individual brainstorming might bring better results
  • groups aren't always strict in following the rules of brainstorming, and bad behaviors creep in
  • people pay so much attention to other people that they don't generate ideas of their own – or they forget these ideas while they wait for their turn to speak. 

On your own, you don't have to worry about other people's egos or opinions, and you can be freer and more creative.

Building a better brainstorm

Everyone can learn to brainstorm better - it’s a process like any other. 

And the beauty of a process is that it can be taught, learned, and shared. 

How To Brainstorm Like A Googler
  1. Know the user: To solve a big question, you first have to focus on the user you’re solving it for–then everything else will follow. So we go out in the field and talk to people.
  2. Think 10x: It’s about trying to improve something by 10 times rather than by 10%.
  3. Prototype: Take action. You want to strike when the iron is hot–you don’t want to walk away or agree to follow talk with more talk.
Brainstorming guidelines
  1. Build on each others’ ideas
  2. Generate lots of ideas. Quantity is more important than quality, so really let loose. 
  3. Write headlines. Being able to describe an idea in less than 6 words helps you clarify it. 
  4. Illustrate. Pictures are usually louder than words and harder to misinterpret.
  5. Think big. Invite bold ideas.
  6. Defer judgment.
A brief overview of brainstorming

The brainstorming process was popularized in the 1950s by Alex Osborn, an advertising executive at Barton, Batton, Durstine, & Osborn (BBDO).

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Principles of brainstorming
  • Generate as many ideas as possible. For the purposes of this exercise, quantity is more important than quality.
  • Don’t judge any ideas until the session is over. People will hold back if they think they may be judged negatively.
  • Encourage people to think outside of the box. Although wild ideas may not be feasible, they steer the conversation in new directions.
  • Combine ideas. Encouraging people to build off one another makes it easier for them to contribute and boosts team morale.
Work alone—together

Give people time to think by themselves prior to the brainstorm, so everyone has a chance to take his or her thought process in a unique direction.

A potential consequence of brainstorming is convergent thinking: the tendency for individuals’ ideas to become increasingly similar over the course of a brainstorming session.