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Think of a challenge you're facing at work.
Now, what is the worst possible solution you can dream up?
Really.
What is a truly terrible way to address this?
What could get you laughed at or even fired?
Got a bad idea?
Good.
This might just be the best idea you've ever had,
according to designer and author Ayse Birsel.
Her concept of wrong thinking on purpose
may seem counterintuitive, but it's
a useful tool in the challenge to solve problems in new ways.
Here's a central example of how Birsel pivots a dreadful idea
into a brilliant one.
Switch jobs with, say, a junior staffer or intern.
It may sound silly, but this humbling "as if" scenario
can put you into an inquisitive beginner's mindset
and give you a newfound permission
to ask, listen, and learn things that an expert would
assume they already knew.
Likewise, while you're playing the role of novice,
your junior employees are trying your job on for size.
They are now empowered with fresh agency
to search, experiment, and possibly discover
new directions altogether without the expected hierarchy
blocking the way.
How about this horrible notion?
Spread rumors about your colleagues.
If you flip the idea on its head to spreading
good rumors instead of negative gossip,
it could be an inspiring way to collectively celebrate
their strengths.
Maybe try failing-- intentionally, and repeatedly.
Sounds like a nightmare until you pivot it
to a deliberate mistake lab dedicated to celebrating
and learning from failure.
Not only could this be a great tool
to get over your fear of failure,
but it can reinforce that we learn constantly
by turning bad ideas into great ones.
Banning technology at work sounds counterproductive
and pretty impossible.
But having a no technology day once in a while
could remind everyone of the importance
of face-to-face conversations, walking meetings, even
meditation without interruptions from email and social media.
Go ahead.
Give yourself permission to have an awful idea.
The very best one might just emerge along the way.
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The Explainer: Solving Problems by Starting with the Worst Idea Possible

102 Folder Collection
jbsatvtac1 published on August 22, 2019
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