Creativity Tips
Begin with the end in mind


Problem Reversal

Do you know the "answer game"? I'll give you an answer, and you come up with a creative question. Here are two answers: (Two questions are listed below the navigation bar at the bottom of this page.) 1."9 W" 2. "Chicken Sukiaki"

This game illustrates one way to find creative solutions. Here are five ways to reverse the creative problem solving process.

  • Make a statement negative. How can you write the worst possible essay? What is the worst thing you could do to your friend? You'll surprise yourself with the opposites your answers suggest.
  • Do what no one else does. Hand in your paper or test before its due.
  • Try the "What if.." compass. Create pairs of opposites, and ask " what if" you..."stretch it, shrink it", "freeze it, melt it", "personalize it, depersonalize it", "make it huge, make it tiny",...
  • Change the direction or location of your perspective. Take a walk. Do something different for a while.
  • Turn defeat into victory and victory into defeat. What would be the good consequences if you failed a test, or the bad consequences if you passed? What would be the benefits if you got dumped,... the possible bad consequences if you got married?

William Shockley described the invention process at Bell Labs as "creative failure". A superior team started out trying to invent the MOS transistor and instead invented the junction transistor and the new science of semiconductor physics.

Richard Feynman, also a Nobel Laureate physicist, said that "to develop working ideas efficiently, I try to fail as fast as I can

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