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  • Duke Heart Incubator

HBR: To Come Up with a Good Idea, Start by Imagining the Worst Idea Possible

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.

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