There are many creative tools a designer uses to think differently, but none is more counter-intuitive than “wrong thinking,” also called reverse thinking. Wrong thinking is when you intentionally think of the worst idea possible – the exact opposite of the accepted or logical solution, ideas that can get you laughed at or even fired – and work back from those to find new ways of solving old problems. This method has helped chefs invent new dishes and scientists sequence DNA. To give it a try yourself, try seeing a problem as a beginner would see it; granting a beginner agency to tell you what to do; or, most radically, suspending hierarchy entirely. When we give ourselves permission to have bad ideas, we often come up with the best ones.

General Electric. DuPont. Procter & Gamble. Visa. Linux. What makes them stand out? Great products? Yes. Great people? Sure. Great leaders? Usually. But if you dig deeper, you will find another, more fundamental reason for their success: management innovation.