I recently prepared a training using a rather unknown creative problem-solving technique: Reverse Brainstorming. How does it work?
The first important step is to come up with an explicit challenge or objective that the group can work upon. From my experience, I observed people over-discussing the challenge if they have to agree on what this is at the beginning of the session. So, in order to save time, I prefer to ask the person in charge of the group – the responsible within the organization – to come up with a statement that is explicit and denotes something that the organizations faces with. What the challenge is should be agreed upon by the entire team. Agreement is a key word in this process.
Our particular example of a challenge was: How to recruit the most suitable members for GLT?
The second step is optional. After talking to people about the brainstorming technique I understood how little known are the steps and conventions of this process. Actually, many involved in informal education activities can’t distinguish the differences between a regular conversation and a brainstorming session. I prefer making a short, regular, brainstorming session in order to get people accustomed with the rules. I also choose a subject that is fun and can benefit from crazy, creative ideas that have sometimes little sense. This is used to relax and place the participants in a creative and fun mood.
Third step. The original challenge is reversed and this is where the actual fun starts. The name Reverse Brainstorming comes from the fact that you reverse the challenge and seek solutions for the reverse statement. Doesn’t make sense? It may not just yet, but remember to trust the process and it will all be revealed in the next steps.
Original challenge: How to recruit the most suitable members for GLT?
Reverse 1: How not to recruit the most suitable members for GLT? – Group 1.
Reverse 2: How to recruit the most unsuitable members for GLT? – Group 2.