Start with an idea generation question. Re-frame an opportunity or challenge as a ‘How might we…’ question. If this is the first time the group experiences this exercise, opt for a simple intro round using a basic question such as ‘How might we make our city more awesome?’
1. To begin the negative, ‘flip’ your HMW question into the opposite negative version. For example, ‘HMW make our city awful?’
2. Draw a line down the middle of a flipchart paper or whiteboard splitting it in two, marking one side as negative and the other as positive.
3. Arm everyone with a pack of (digital) post-its and a pen and then invite them to come up with as many ideas for the negative HMW question as possible, one idea per post-it. Kick them off with a few examples, e.g.: ‘There is a law to kick every puppy you see.’, ‘colour is banned from the city’
4. Encourage them to fill it up with ideas, speaking them out loud as they put them up to avoid repeats.
5. Once the negative side is full (at least 20 post-its) stop the team. Tell them you are flipping the HWM question back to the original bright version
6. Invite them to pick negative post-its at random. They should attach a post-it on the bottom and write an idea, triggered by the negative.
Note: these are creative ideas to answer the HMW - not just opposites. For example:
7. Stick the ideas to the bright side. Once all or most of the negatives have been transformed, stop and ask participants to share their favourite ideas.