Worst Possible Idea Technique – turn the terrible to the terrific

Worst Possible Idea Technique: Encouraging Creativity Through Negative Brainstorming

The Worst Possible Idea technique is an unconventional and engaging method to spur creativity and innovation in problem-solving and brainstorming sessions. Instead of immediately striving for viable solutions, participants are encouraged to think of the most ineffective, impractical, or absurd solutions to a problem. This approach can make the session more enjoyable, reduce inhibitions, and often leads to unique and creative solutions when these ‘bad’ ideas are analyzed and transformed into positive ones.

What is the Worst Possible Idea Technique?

This technique involves a deliberate shift in perspective, asking participants to ideate the least effective solutions possible. The exercise serves to break down mental barriers and stimulate creative thinking, as it removes the pressure of finding the ‘right’ answer and encourages a more open and playful approach to problem-solving.

Steps of the Worst Possible Idea Technique

  1. Problem Identification: Clearly define the problem or challenge that needs to be addressed.
  2. Generate Worst Ideas: Encourage participants to come up with the worst possible ideas or solutions related to the problem. Emphasize that the more absurd or impractical, the better.
  3. Share and Discuss: Participants share their ideas with the group. This phase is often filled with humor and light-heartedness, which can foster a more relaxed and open environment.
  4. Analyze and Flip: Examine these worst ideas and discuss what makes them so bad. Then, creatively flip these ideas into positive, practical solutions.
  5. Develop Viable Solutions: From the flipped ideas, develop feasible and effective solutions to the original problem.

Examples of the Worst Possible Idea Technique in Practice

Example 1: Product Development

  • Problem: Designing a new eco-friendly product.
  • Worst Ideas: A product that increases pollution, uses non-recyclable materials, or has a very short lifespan.
  • Flipped Solutions: Develop products with sustainable materials, long-term usability, and environmentally friendly production processes.

Example 2: Customer Service Improvement

  • Problem: Enhancing customer satisfaction.
  • Worst Ideas: Ignoring customer feedback, increasing waiting times, or complicating the support process.
  • Flipped Solutions: Implement a responsive customer feedback system, streamline the support process, and ensure minimal waiting times.

Example 3: Marketing Strategy

  • Problem: Increasing brand awareness.
  • Worst Ideas: Using outdated advertising methods, targeting a completely irrelevant audience, or having unclear messaging.
  • Flipped Solutions: Adopting cutting-edge digital marketing techniques, precisely targeting the intended audience, and creating clear, compelling messages.

Conclusion

The Worst Possible Idea technique is an effective tool for stimulating creativity and encouraging out-of-the-box thinking in professional settings. By starting with deliberately bad ideas, it lowers the stakes and mental barriers, allowing participants to think more freely and creatively. This method is particularly useful in brainstorming sessions where conventional thinking has led to a stalemate, and a fresh, unconventional perspective is needed. It not only makes the process more enjoyable but also leads to the discovery of innovative and effective solutions.

Other useful websites: direct work tools and worksheets for social workers go to www.socialworkerstoolbox.com, advice, tools and resources on managing feelings and feeling better visit www.feelingshelpbox.com, free tools and resources for helping with anxiety then go to www.anxietyhelpbox.com

Scroll to Top