The Reverse Brainstorming Canvas allows you to generate ground-breaking and market-driving ideas by viewing your challenge from an alternative standpoint. This template was created by Ayoa CEO and creative thinking expert, Chris Griffiths, and is featured in his book, The Creative Thinking Handbook.
Reverse Brainstorming is a creative thinking and problem-solving exercise where you take your original problem and use its reversal as a trigger for new ideas. So, instead of coming up with ‘what to do’, you’re trying to think of ‘what not to do’. For instance, if you’re struggling to think of ways to gain new customers, identify ways to lose them instead.
Though this process may sound a little bizarre, recognizing the actions you want to avoid will actually allow you to discover more surprising and market-driving ideas, from the obvious to the more obscure, which makes Reverse Brainstorming an extremely valuable tool.
Particularly when used in a group brainstorming session, the Reverse Brainstorming strategy provides a playful approach to the ideation process and can prevent you from getting stuck in a creative-thinking rut. Using Ayoa’s Reverse Brainstorming Canvas template can help lead your team to more radical ideas whilst ensuring that the most obvious fixes (which are often missed) are realized.
To access the template, sign up to Ayoa for free. Once you've signed up, navigate to the homepage to create a new whiteboard, mind map or task board and choose this template from the library.
In the first box (Step 1), state the reverse of your challenge or problem by changing the wording of your problem to the exact opposite. This will switch your immediate focus from how to solve the problem, to how to cause it. To help get your creative juices flowing, check out the examples we’ve included on the template.
Using sticky notes, brainstorm ideas to solve the reversed problem in the second box (Step 2).
Using the annotate tool in Ayoa, circle the things that you’re already doing; you may well be surprised!
Now it’s time to flip your reversed solutions. By doing this, you’ll find positive ways of solving your original challenge. Some of these reversed solutions may already provide a good fit to your problem; however, in some cases you may need to make adjustments to make them work. This exercise is a real eye-opener for realizing exactly what you’re doing wrong and what you need to do for positive change.