Stop Having Boring Brainstorming Sessions

I've learned to embrace my evil side 😈
Turning yourself into a villain can spark creativity.
Here's how I use it with product teams in discovery:

Here's how you can try it too:
- Copy the miro template
- Follow the steps below with the team.

1. Plain old boring problem statement

Define the problem. You probably have done so already. Just write it down. Don't waste time here. Move along.

2. Invert the problem

Now, this is where the fun starts. Logical inversion of sentences is actually not that trivial. Think about what the opposite of your problem statement would be. "make onboarding a breeze" could become "make onboarding a detractor, like 0% conversion".
Note: Make sure to not double-invert your statement. -a * -a = b with b > 0, remember that from school?

3. Collect evil ideas

Following up on our evil tendencies, we can now try to solve the evil problem. How might we "make onboarding a detractor experience"? Really put yourself into the destroyer of UX here. Let out the churn master, the conversion rate killer that was quietly resting within you. I know you have that dark side.

4. Reverse those

Alright, and snap out of it. Angels are back. Do you hear them singing? We take each evil idea and invert it. Again, not too much thinking here, just making sure we are actually inverting the relevant part.
"user journey leads straight to check-out wall without warning" turns into "user journey always indicates where you are and warns of payment step coming".

5. Identify solutions/experiments

Many of those ideas are going to be bad. And now that they are all nice and angel-like, they are not even fun anymore. Therefore we should extract them into actual, somewhat valid "solutions".
I'd see these solutions as prime candidates for experiments.

I'll cover my process on how to get from ideas to lean experiments in a future post. This is already getting too long. Are you still here? 👋


To sum up, reverse brainstorming done right can break mental blockades. With that it is a great tool to generate actually new ideas instead of brainstorming on the same old ideas, you never got around to implementing. It's a fresh breeze in an otherwise laid-out problem space.