| Home page | Training section | Tool Box |

« Inverted thinking »



This exercise in "inverted thinking" teaches us how to provocatively challenge perceptions and preconceptions. We can deliberately arrive at different conclusions than might be expected under usual circumstances by "inversing" the facts or the premises we are operating with.

"Life gave him a lemon and he made a fortune in the lemonade business" or other such adages relate how some people can always draw the best out of a given situation.

Called "weird creativity" by Robert Sutton writing in the Harvard Business Review, people gain from the flexibility of mind to consider unusual connections. In an article on managing creative people, he said people who think creatively should be managed differently because they furnish 3 things needed by companies who want to innovate products, services or processes. He says that decades of research show how "weird thinking" increases the range of a company's knowledge, causes people to see old problems in new ways and helps companies break with the past.&

Standard thinking and doings are great for cashing in on the old proven ways... but they are not what produce innovative breakthroughs.


Try a few simple exercises and then start challenging the assumptions in your world.

Take an idea and examine it with an upside down logic. e.g.

Play with ideas and develop a flexible mind. For example take an assumption and pretend it's the accepted norm. Then list the worst and best possible scenarios from the norm and probe "what then" strategies as if the situations were real and ongoing. Generate plenty of possibilities and "weird connections" and list them.

Link farflung ideas into possibles, probables and potentials by forcing connections. When certain connections seem to make some kind of sense, test them with other thinking tools.

| Home page | Training section | Tool Box |