Reversed Brainstorming: Flipping the Script for Better Problem-Solving

Uncover the ingenuity of reversed brainstorming—a unique approach to problem-solving. Learn how this innovative technique flips challenges into opportunities by exploring what not to do. Join us in exploring the creative potential of thinking in reverse.


When it comes to finding solutions to different design problems, brainstorming plays a crucial role. It generates quality ideas in a group and refines them to develop the most suitable solution. Reversed brainstorming is a popular type of brainstorming that resonates with natural human tendencies.

Traditional brainstorming may be difficult for many people, as it does not provide different aspects of a specific problem. In comparison, reverse brainstorming allows every participant to view the problem in different ways and suggest solutions accordingly.

If you want to explore how reverse brainstorming lends you a helping hand in generating possible solutions to solve a certain design problem, make sure you read through the discussion below.

In this article
  1. What is Reversed Brainstorming
  2. Key Benefits of Reversed Brainstorming
  3. How to Use the Reverse Brainstorming Method
  4. How to Run a Brainwriting Session
  5. An Example of Brainwriting
  6. Conclusion

What is Reversed Brainstorming

what is reversed brainstorming

This type of brainstorming flips the traditional approach on its head. In other words, this technique turns traditional brainstorming upside down. Sometimes, people call it negative brainstorming too. Find it confusing? No worries, read more to get a better understanding of this topic.

The weirdest thing about the reversed brainstorming vmethod is that it does not ask participants to present their thoughts or ideas to solve a particular design problem. Instead, they are asked to undermine the whole process and brainstorm different options that can fail the plan. Simply put, participants have to make the goal most difficult to achieve.

When you get familiar with all the options that can be a hurdle in achieving your goals, it becomes easy for you to avoid these things, which is why finding the right solution becomes a piece of cake in most cases. Let's compare reverse brainstorming with traditional brainstorming to highlight the major difference.

Brainstorming Reversed Brainstorming
What can we do to increase the organic traffic of our website? What can we do to ensure that users are not landing on our website?
How to make sure that this project is successful? How to make sure that this project fails?
How to make customer service better? How to make sure that every customer walks away?

Key Benefits of Reversed Brainstorming

Reverse or negative brainstorming comes with a range of benefits. A few of them are as follows.

  1. Challenges Assumptions: The very first and the most prominent benefit of this brainstorming method is that it highlights all the challenges you are likely to face when solving a problem.
  2. Gets You Out of a Rut: The unique way of determining the solution to the problem changes your normal routine to a new one. You will love using this method to find ideas.
  3. Expands Possibilities: Since you get to know about different challenges, it opens up a lot of possibilities to gather fantastic ideas.
  4. Validates Good Ideas: A series of options to see different aspects of the problem helps you share and shortlist some quality thoughts or ideas.
  5. Easy to Apply: You don't have to worry about presenting the solution to the problem. Instead, you see different parameters that can fail the project, making it easy to apply.
  6. Encourages Crazy Ideas: While exploring a range of challenges, participants can come up with crazy ideas or thoughts. They are closely linked to the options you explore while looking for possible challenges.

How to Use Reverse Brainstorming Method

Are you concerned about applying the reversed brainstorming technique to a specific problem? Don't know how it proceeds and helps you gather valuable ideas? Worry not! Below are the few steps you should follow to implement reverse brainstorming. Let's get into their specifics.

Step 1Identify the Challenge or Problem

Before you start doing reverse brainstorming, don't forget to define the problem or challenge clearly. It is the very first step and the most important phase to proceed with the next process. You can't even think of proceeding without defining the problem.

Step 2Set the Session's Time Limit

Once you have defined the goal or challenge, the next step is to set the time limit for the session. It may vary depending on the outcomes you are looking for. However, 15 to 30 minutes' session work perfectly fine. Try setting the limit within the ideal boundaries.

Step 3Reverse the Challenge

This step is about reversing the challenge you have defined in Step 1. You don't need to think about solving any problem; instead, you should focus on making it even worse. For instance, if a business wants to expand its sales, and you are focusing on how to make a business fail so that no customer comes to them.

This is what helps you come across a decent range of options to explore countless opportunities. It is fun trying, indeed. Interestingly, it explores different aspects to see the challenges more clearly.

Step 4Collect Ideas

Now, every participant brainstorms the challenge reversed in the previous step to gather different ideas. A moderator or facilitator is necessary to ensure that the team focuses on the problem only instead of considering the solution.

Different ideas of destroying a business include; arguing with customers, ignoring their complaints, non-professional behavior of customer support staff, bad products, poor delivery services, no return or exchange policy, and more.

Step 5Reverse the Collected Ideas

As soon as all participants gather ideas and document them, they should be reversed to see the other side of the picture. For example, to enhance business sales, staff must offer great customer support services, and there should be some eye-catching discounts, new user offers are mandatory to attract more people, premium-quality goods, reliable services, and other similar things.

Step 6Evaluate Ideas & Find Solutions

Now, every bad or crazy idea has been converted into the decent one. You, along with your team, can evaluate all ideas. It will help you determine the best solution to move forward and solve the problem you have performed the whole process for. In the end, you get the amazing solution you were always looking for.

Reverse Brainstorming Template

Looking at the pre-built reversed brainstorming template has always proved to be helpful in understanding this subject in a meaningful way. Below we have presented a similar template to get into the details of how reverse brainstorming works. This template is created in Wondershare EdrawMind and is presented to elaborate the overall process.

On the left side in the green box, a challenge is presented, “We need to be better aligned as a team during project ideas.” The first thing this template shows is that the chosen challenge has been reversed, i.e., “We need to be completely misaligned as a team during projects.

After reversing the main challenge, seven different ideas are extracted from it, as shown in the image below. Then, every idea is reversed to obtain different solutions. All the solutions are presented right below the ideas and in green boxes.

The solutions are then evaluated to determine the most credible one. For this, the team goes through all the solutions they have obtained by reversing various ideas. Doing this helps them find one major solution that works better than all others to solve the problem.

Do you need trusted assistance with reverse brainstorming? On the hunt for some utilities to support you in this regard? If yes, give Wondershare EdrawMind a try. This tool uses an AI brainstorming feature to help you run successful sessions efficiently.

Relevant Topic: 10 Free Brainstorming Example


The name shows that reversed brainstorming is something about reversing the traditional brainstorming technique. It is surprisingly true but confusing for many people. Well, this method reverses the main challenge, explores different ideas about the reversed challenge, and then reverses them again to find a series of possible solutions. These solutions are then examined to shortlist one that can perform better to solve a design problem.

Reverse brainstorming is very easy to apply and offers a lot of benefits, as listed in the discussion above. If you need assistance in running effective brainstorming sessions and are looking for some credible support, try Wondershare EdrawMind tools, and you will be surprised to see the amount of potential it has.

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EdrawMind Team
EdrawMind Team May 21, 24
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