Problem reversal

Turn your problem statement upside down to find new ideas for solutions

Description

The first step of the “Problem reversal” brainstorming technique consists of reversing the problem to the complete opposite and finding ideas for this reversed problem. In the second step participants try to deny and reverse these solutions in order to find ideas for the original problem. This technique is very good for finding new ideas as a result of the fact that negative ideas are easier to find than positive ones.

Example

A restaurant wants to offer new services to its customers. They turn the question around and think about what services provided by the customers would make them happy. For example, it would be great if the customers would clean up the restaurants' kitchen. They turn this assumption around into the opposite. This is how they come up with the idea of offering a kitchen decorating service for their customers.

Instructions

1. Describe the problem you want to solve (e.g. "What services can we offer our customers in our restaurant?").

2. Reverse the problem, turn it upside down (e.g. "What services can our customers offer us in our restaurant?").

3. Find solutions for the inverted problem (e.g. "Our customers could clean up our kitchen")

4. Turn these solutions of the reversed problem upside down ("We could clean up our customers' kitchen").

5. Develop concrete ideas for solutions from these results ("We could not only deliver the food to our customers' home. We also redecorate their dining room/kitchen for family parties").

Is there a problem you'd like to solve with your team?