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Week 10: Design Thinking Tools: Reverse Brainstorming (ART723)

Updated: May 14, 2023

Week Beginning: 11th April 2023

Design Thinking Tools: Reverse Brainstorming

During todays lecture we discussed and explored the topic of Design Thinking Tools and Reverse Brainstorming. Many tools and techniques involve the design thinking process such as mind maps, brain dumps, group discussion, swot analysis, reversed brainstorming and others. Each of these tools has its own strong points that qualify it to reach innovative solutions or initiative new project ideas.

One of the most powerful tools is most commonly known used is brainstorming. Brainstorming was first introduced by Alex Faickney Osborn in 1939 as a solution to help employees to develop creative ideas in the advertising industry. The brainstorming process depends on focusing on quantity in order to produce quality, withhold criticism and present usual ideas. Based on these characteristics, the ideas are combined and improved to reach one single most applicable idea.

What is the Reverse Brainstorming?

In order to reach creative output, the process itself needs to be creative and innovative. However, the above-mentioned brainstorming process lacks the creativity that can help to obtain the desired results out of the meeting session.

Reverse brainstorming tries to solve the problem in a reversed way to the flow we already now. The method can influence the human mind to create better ideas and solutions.

Reverse brainstorming provides unusual thinking methods to reach solutions that ordinary thinking methods do not achieve. As creative thinking requires a special flow of ideas, reverse brainstorming can help teams to create using unique thinking methods.

Reverse brainstorming can be applied directly during the discussion meeting or it can be used if ordinary brainstorming fails to reach the desired solution for the problem or the targeted creative approach.

What are the steps of the reverse brainstorming?

Reverse brainstorming session works in a way to achieve the target through five main steps.

These steps include the following:

Step 1: Clearly identify the problem that needs to be solved by the end of the group meeting.

Step 2: Reverse the expected process. For example ask questions such as “how can we make the problem worse?” instead of “How can we solve it?”

Step 3: Collect all the reversed solutions. All the ideas are acceptable without no criticism.

Step 4: After reaching the cases that make the problem worse, flip these cases to reach the best fixes for the problem.

Step 5: Judge and evaluates the results to reach one best solution.

The above steps start and end in a similar matter to the ordinary brainstorming process. However, the inner steps are reversed to reach the best solution through understanding the worse cases. These steps are discussed during the stakeholder meeting using simple tools such as a whiteboard, erasable markers with different colors and sticky notes.


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