Negative Brainstorming

In cases where designer or design team has too much knowledge in the field that is designed for, feasibility of the ideas are often questioned during brainstorming sessions. Negative Brainstorming method aims to generate solutions to a problem by worsening the situation, so that feasibility of the ideas are not questioned and brainstorming session continues without disturbance.

Steps

  1. Problems related to existing product that is going to be designed are brainstormed and listed.
    Problems of existing toothbrushes in the market: Toothbrushes touch each other when placed in cup, causing hygiene problem.
  2. Each problem statement is reversed and the question “How can we worsen the situation?” is asked for each problem.
    How can we make toothbrushes touch each other more when placed in cup. 
  3. Solutions to the reversed problems are generated.
    By placing magnets, toothbrushes touch each other more.
  4. Once there is a good amount of ideas, solutions generated for the reversed problem statement are reversed once again to find solutions to the original problem.
    Magnetic poles are reversed therefore toothbrushes will push each other instead of pulling.

Negative Brainstorming 01
Problems of an existing product are coded as green, solutions to reversed problem statement are coded as pink and solutions to the original problem are coded as grey and yellow.

¹ Rawlinson, J. G. (1981). Creative Thinking and Brainstorming. Westmead, Eng.: Gower.