A Quick and Definitive Guide to Negative Brainstorming

Have you ever come upon a time during projects, that a problem that you face just seems unsolvable? On the other hand, do you still feel that there may be some ideas that you have not come up with yet? A different approach to brainstorming might be of some help. In this article, we aim to impart this technique to you, so that you may effectively utilize this technique to apply to your problem solving skills.

Negative brainstorming uses the human tendency to see the negative aspect of things, combining brainstorming and reversal techniques. This method is a simple reversal of asking positive aspect questions such as “How can I solve this problem?” to become “How can I cause more problems?

How do I go about working on it?

  1. First, clearly identify the problem or challenge and write it down.
  2. Reverse the problem or challenge, i.e. “How to really mess up Mr. Bay’s wedding?” which will generate a relax atmosphere and bring forth many unexpected ideas which must be taken down too.
  3. Cluster similar comments that mean the same thing.
  4. Reverse the clusters into positive statements.

This method of brainstorming is often called “Tear-down” method, as its negativity is advantageous and seen in a positive light when training implementers to deal with hostile criticism. It is also important to follow up with a constructive debrief to ensure that the implementer feels encouraged and secure.

So remember that if a direct approach may not work too well at solving a problem, do not be afraid to think out of the box and think on the negative side of things. With proper guidance and techniques, negative brainstorming can be and will be a powerful and useful tool in all your problem-solving situations.