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The Innovation Process
Activity 4.2 C

Stretch thinking

The exercises in this activity will help stretch your thinking by getting you to look at the problem and think of solutions from different perspectives.

Once you have your initial list of ideas, it is time to start stretching participants’ thinking. Getting them to perform some gentle mental gymnastics to look at the problem and think of solutions from different perspectives.

Mission Impossible

Mission Impossible is a game that asks participants to think about how they would address the challenge without any of the usual constraints: What if you only had 24 hrs to develop a solution? How could you develop a solution that is indestructible?

This is a way to actively remove aspects of the challenge that anchor people’s thoughts and leave them unable to see alternative possibilities. It pushes participants to open their minds and to generate the kinds of ideas that they might feel are impossible.

The next step is to ask participants to look at those ideas and think how they might make a possible version of them. They will not be able to do it for all of their ‘impossible ideas’, and maybe not even the majority, but there will usually be a few that provide new possibilities for addressing the problem.

Flip It

Flip It is a game where you deliberately seek to turn your assumptions, constraints and issues around a problem into opportunities and possibilities. This can be particularly useful for helping participants and collaborators who may be naysayers; the type who say, ‘this won’t work,’ ‘we have tried that before’ etc. The resource provided uses the methodology of getting participants to flip ‘fears’ into ‘hopes’, but the same methodology can be applied for different aspects of the problem or potential solution, such as risk management.

How Would?

How Would? is similar to the ‘Analogous Inspiration’ and ‘How Might We’ exercises in that it seeks to draw inspiration from the wider world, inviting participants to change their perspective and open their minds  to a wider range of possible solutions.

In this exercise you ask the group to think how other organisations or businesses or people would address this issue. For example: How would NASA solve your problem? How would an insurance company solve your problem? How would a taxi driver solve this problem?

By thinking about how people and organisations in other sectors and industries would solve the problem, you free participants to think more creatively. This can be easily tailored to different audiences to ensure that the examples are fun and relevant.