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Negative Brainstorming

Examine your solutions for potential failures.


Negative Brainstorming consists of a conventional Brainstorming session where you explore the negative aspects of solutions.

In Negative Brainstorming, negativity is seen as advantageous.

Start by asking questions, such as:

  • How not to solve the problem?
  • What’s the worst thing that you could do?
  • How could somebody really mess this up?

Negative Brainstorming is especially useful when:

  • An idea is very new.
  • A solution is complex.
  • There is little margin for error.
  • Facing a lot skepticism or criticism.
  • A solution will undergo an intense review.

Publications icon


Creative Problem Solving: An Introduction, Donald Treffinger PhD, Scott Isaksen PhD, and Brian Stead-Doval, Waco, TX: Prufrock Press, 2006.