The Anti-Problem

This game’s purpose is to help teams evaluate a problem differently and break out of existing patterns.

The Anti-Problem game helps people get unstuck when they are at their wit’s end. It is most useful when a team is already working on a problem, but they’re running out of ideas for solutions. By asking players to identify ways to solve the problem opposite to their current problem, it becomes easier to see where a current solution might be going astray or where an obvious solution isn’t being applied.

Instructions

Preparation

Before the meeting, find a situation that needs to be resolved or a problem that needs a solution.

Give players access to sticky notes, markers, index cards, pipe cleaners, modelling clay—any supplies you have around the office that they could use to design and describe solutions.

Flow

  1. Break large groups into smaller groups of three to four people and describe what they’ll tackle together: the anti-problem, or the current problem’s opposite.(For example, if the problem is sales conversion, the players would brainstorm ways to get customers to avoid buying the product.) The more extreme the problem’s opposite, the better.
  2. Give the players 15–20 minutes to generate and display various ways to solve the anti-problem. Encourage fast responses and a volume of ideas. There are no wrong solutions.
  3. When the time is up, ask each group to share their solutions to the anti-problem. They should stand and display any visual creations they have at this time or ask the others to gather around their table to see their solutions.
  4. Discuss any insights and discoveries the players have.

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