What’s Your Worst Idea?

Worst Idea EverThis week, while reading about schools using design thinking, I was struck with a piece of advice given in one school’s literature. When brainstorming, it suggested, think of your worst, most obvious idea and list that idea first. No idea is likely to be worse, so the pressure is off. Participants can feel free to suggest off beat ideas, confident that if the first worst idea is acceptable, theirs will be, too.

I find this an interesting concept. My first thought was, “Wouldn’t students get carried away into silliness, each trying to think of a worse idea than the last?” Possibly. But they would be thinking flexibly. And if it happened, in a tie to reverse brainstorming, they could be taught how a collection of bad ideas can be a springboard to ideas that could work. More importantly, if students understand that the purpose of one bad idea is to help them get started, it could be a great strategy for beginning brainstorming in a way that demonstrates all ideas are accepted.

What do you think? If you give it a try, I’d love to hear how it works. What’s your worst idea? Perhaps it is your key to successful brainstorming.

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