Provocation technique

Turn assumptions to find new ideas

Would you like to apply the provocation technique quickly and easily? Let IdeaClouds guide you step by step.


The “Provocation technique” is a creativity technique used in order to generate new ideas for product improvement or process optimization. This technique is similar to the “Problem reversal technique”.

This technique stimulates the creativity of each participant through mental provocation. The basic assumptions of a product or process are inversed in a provocative way. In this way, innovative solutions can be discovered.

The provocation technique may irritate newcomers when first used. But don't let that put you off. The provocation technique is our recommendation when it comes to optimizing processes and improving products.


1. Describe the concept you want to reinvent (e.g. "Restaurant")

2. Write down how the concept works/looks so far (e.g. "Cooks prepare meals for customers")

3. Turn the assumptions around in all possible ways (e.g. "Customers prepare meals for cooks")

4. Try to come up with new ideas about a new concept with the help of the inverted assumptions (e.g. "Weekly cooking contest")


The owner of a pizzeria wants to improve his cooking concept. His pizzeria should be able to compete more strongly with other pizzerias. So far, the restaurant has mainly offered Italian pizzas from the stone oven. But that is nothing special for the customers.

So the owner sets up a meeting with his chefs and service staff to come up with ideas for improvement. To stimulate creativity, they use the provocation technique. First, the team formulates an assumption about the pizzeria's previous concept: "The cooks prepare pizzas for the customers." Then, they reverse this assumption: "The customers prepare pizzas for the cooks."

Using this reverse assumption, the team develops the following idea: The pizzeria holds a baking contest for its customers every Saturday. Under the guidance of the chef, the customers are allowed to design their own pizza.

Generate new ideas with the provocation technique.