Provocation technique

Turn assumptions to generate new ideas


The “Provocation technique” is a creativity technique used in order to find new ideas and managing creative problem solving. This technique, which is similar to the “Problem reversal technique”, stimulates the creativity of each participant through mental provocation. The basic assumptions of a problem or a solution are inversed in a provocative way, which allows innovative and unusual solutions to be discovered. This technique is best used in later stages of idea development, when the solution to a problem is close to be found.


In the case of looking for ideas for an innovative restaurant concept, the main assumption would be that cooks prepare meals for customers. The inversed assumption would be that customers prepare meals for the cooks. This assumption could lead to a weekly competition, where the participants prepare meals for the cooks.


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")

You want to solve a problem this way - alone or in a team?