How to Use the False Rules Technique
The False Rules technique is an innovative method for idea generation. It involves applying rules or principles from one context to a completely different situation, termed as your “probortunity” (problem or opportunity). These rules are considered “false” because they haven’t been previously validated in your specific context. The novelty of applying such unrelated rules can stimulate creative thinking and lead to unexpected solutions.
Steps to Use the Technique:
- Obtain a False Rule:
- Source a rule, principle, or idea from an unrelated field. This can be from rule books, instruction manuals, books, or brainstorming software. The more unrelated, the better.
- Apply the Rule to Your Probortunity:
- Directly apply this rule to your situation. Explore the implications and ideas that emerge from this application.
- Analyze the Underlying Reason for the Rule:
- Investigate why the rule exists in its original context. Ask if a similar rationale or principle could be beneficial in your scenario.
- Consider the Benefits of the Rule:
- Reflect on the advantages or purposes of following the rule in its original context and how these could translate to your situation.
- Develop Ideas Based on the Rule:
- Use the rule as a springboard to generate ideas that can be adapted to solve your problem or seize your opportunity.
Things to Watch Out for:
- Premature Rejection of Rules:
- Avoid dismissing a rule too quickly as irrelevant. The challenge lies in creatively adapting the rule to your context. The more removed the rule from application to the current problem then the more likely that on-one has approached the problem from this angle so the more likely resulting ideas will be innovative.
- Ensuring Randomness:
- Ensure the rule is randomly chosen to avoid subconsciously selecting something that seems immediately applicable, thus maintaining the element of surprise and innovation.
Example of Using the False Rules Technique:
- Probortunity: Developing new ideas for using the telephone system.
- False Rule 1: Applicants must be over 18 years old.
- Bridging Idea: Implementing age verification for certain phone services.
- Good Idea: A unique code and PIN system for adults to access specific services, enhancing security and accountability.
- False Rule 2: Refrigerate after opening.
- Bridging Idea: Concept of a cooling-off period.
- Good Idea: Implementing a mandatory break period equal to the duration of the last call to discourage excessive phone usage.
The False Rules technique encourages out-of-the-box thinking by forcing you to consider unconventional solutions. By applying rules from unrelated domains to your own challenges, you can uncover unique and innovative ideas. Try applying a random false rule to your current situation and see how it can creatively influence your problem-solving process.