Walt disney was a pioneer by all measures, and was talented in discovering creative ideas and converting them into reality. Based on a close associate, he used to say “There were actually three different Walts: the dreamer, the realist, and the spoiler. You never knew which one was coming to the meeting.”
The strategy is based on three main stages; the dreamer, the realist and the critic. Each stage represent a style of thinking and the process is sequential.
The first stage allows the team to share their dream without no restrictions or criticism which helps build a pool of creative ideas. Some of these ideas are viable and others are not. Determining the viable creative concepts comes later as a result of the second and third thinking styles.
The team changes the location and mode of thought to think in a more logical planning style. Based on the first stage, the team assumes that the dream is a reality and begin making arrangements to make it a reality. The plan's goal is to transform the fictitious concepts into a workable action plan. During this stage, all thoughts should be constructive and focused on converting the idea into a viable plan.
Following the creation of an action plan to make the idea a reality, the critic thinking mode seeks to identify the challenges to implementation and how to overcome them. During this session, the team delivers a critical evaluation of the proposal in order to identify and address any flaws in the final solution.
Also known as De Bono’s six thinking hats, this method was introduced in 1985 by Edward De Bono in a book with the same name. Solving problems using the six thinking hats model requires looking to at problems with different types of thinking.
Each type is represented with a hat color, and at the end of the discussion session stakeholders should have better understanding to the problem from different approaches in order to reach creative and innovative solutions.
This hat represents the available facts and knowledge regarding the topic or argument. During this section, the information is conveyed and notes are taken.
There should be no further progress in the thought process. In this section, questions such as "what is the accessible information?" and "what are the facts we have?" can be asked.
This hat represents the sun or an optimistic mood. Common questions include “what are the advantages of applying the solution?” and “why do you think it is workable?”
Wearing the black hat causes guests to consider the problem or recommendation with caution and defensiveness. The goal of this section is to identify the downsides and cons of the suggestion, as well as why the concept may not function logically.
By focusing on the warnings, hazards, or cautions, stakeholders can isolate the logic and think about the solutions in the yellow box. During this debate, the following questions can be raised: "What are the risks?" and "Why is the suggestion not working?"
This hat is all about the thoughts and gut reactions to the subject. The goal is to understand the emotional emotions that arise, but it's not about understanding the reasoning behind the emotions.
Common questions include "how do you feel about the suggestion?" and "what is your gut reaction to the suggestion?"
This hat ignites critical thinking to look at creative solutions for the problems or look at the recommendations from a creative perspective.
This hat ensures that the six thinking hat process guidelines are followed and helps steer the process in the right direction. If there are no ideas, for example, the facilitators can move the debate to the green hat option.
During debates, the blue hat serves as a control hat; it can also serve as a moderation hat before and after each circle of thought.
Instead of asking how to solve the problem, reverse brainstorming focuses on what causes the problem or how to achieve the opposite of what is expected.
This strategy assists the team in understanding the problem and highlighting suggestions for solving it, in addition to other ideas addressed throughout the discussion. For example, the team considers how to increase the cost rather than how to lower it... and so on.
Clearly identify the problem that needs to be solved by the end of the group meeting.
Reverse the expected process. For example, ask the stakeholders questions such as “How can we make the problem worse?” instead of “How can we solve it?”
Collect all the reversed solutions. All the ideas are acceptable without any criticism.
After reaching the cases that make the problem worse, flip these cases to reach the best fixes for the problem.
Judge and evaluate the results to reach one best solution.
The above steps start and end in a similar matter to the ordinary brainstorming process. However, the inner steps are reversed to reach the best solution through understanding the worst cases.