Have you ever tried to solve a problem whose solution is not easy to be found? Have you ever thought of impossible solutions for that given problem which may look unrealistic? Have you ever tried to take advantage of those solutions to build something more usable? This is the concept behind the technique known as “The Wildest Idea”. It sparks your lateral thinking by taking you to a position where you can look at the problem from a brand-new perspective.
This is a very good technique for unstructured problems -single questions or challenges- which require high doses of creativity. Imagine the following challenge: you want to reduce the amount of emails received by the people within your company since massive amounts of emails lead to productivity wastes. How about limiting the amount of emails to be sent to a maximum of one per day? How about asking for CEO’s permission before being authorized to send an email? How about paying 1$ if you want to send an email? They are all perfect solutions which make no sense in a real world but which match with the goal of the technique. They all follow the wildest idea pattern.
When using this technique you must define one or several challenges to be analyzed by the team. Participants work individually or in couples. A suggested sequence to work with is the following one:
1) People provide solutions to the challenges as long as these solutions are particularly unrealistic. Otherwise these solutions are not acceptable inputs for the next stage.
2) Once these unrealistic ideas have been generated, challenges and wild ideas are swapped. This means that people must get the ideas from the other people and vice versa. Hence everybody receives wild ideas originally released by others.
3) The final step is to adapt these ideas in order to bring them down to earth. By looking at the problem from the point of view of the wildest idea, we can define a realistic one which finally solves the challenge. These realistic ideas are the ones to be seriously considered for the final solutions to the challenges.
This technique is a variation of another one already used by Walt Disney many years ago. In that case a given role was assigned to each person, whereas in this case everybody plays different roles (both unrealistic and realistic sequentially). Do you want to know more about it? See the link below by the famous creativity author Michael Michalko to learn more.
Now it’s up to you. Enjoy the game and improve your performance when trying to confront the resolution of a challenge. Hail to the creativity!