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?
- First, clearly identify the problem or challenge and write it down.
- 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.
- Cluster similar comments that mean the same thing.
- 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.