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Technique N°12 - Reverse everything

Sometimes the opposite brings the light up!

At eYeka we believe that everyone is creative as soon as one opens his mind and lets ideas flow freely. To help creators from everywhere tackle brand issues, we are providing you with Creative Techniques. Browse them, play with them and add them to your daily creative process to generate your best ideas!

When you face a problem, it is sometimes smarter to tackle it by focusing its opposing side. 

We will use the Koleston Hair Coloring contest to illustrate this technique: “Show Brazilian women that Koleston home hair-color will give them beautiful, salon-quality hair color results, restoring their confidence and helping them be their best selves.”

The reversing technique improves your understanding of the challenge and helps you define its boundaries. It is also a good way to generate new ideas. The reversing technique relies on the assumptions of your problem (what you assume to be true) but also on the challenge itself. 

Let’s see how it works on the assumptions:

  1. As always start by writing down your problem statement.
  2. List all your assumptions about your topic:
    • What are you expecting to find?
    • How does it usually behave?
    • What are the most common features, process, and characteristics?
In our example, we could say that women have long hair and like flowers scent. They color their hair to look younger or change their look.  
  1. Reverse each assumption.
Our reversed assumption becomes: women have short hair and hate flowers scent. They color their hair to look older or to look the same.
This could lead to a shampoo that makes hair fall; a shampoo that smells bad and colors the hair in grey (or changes nothing). 
  1. Ask yourself how to accomplish each reversal. How to make it real without the assumption? List all the solutions you find.
  2. Select one solution and transform it into a realistic idea.
  3. Go back to your initial problem and note the new ideas you have.
If we do go back to the initial problem statement, a way to show the effectiveness of the shampoo is to imagine a grey world where everyone would have grey hair. Suddenly one appears with colored hair and transforms the city in a garden full of flowers. 

You can also apply the same principles to your problem statement:

  1. Write down your problem statement.
  2. Change now the main action (usually the verb) by reversing it:
    • Increase becomes decrease
    • Appeal, like, love become hate, etc.
“Show Brazilian women that Koleston home hair-color will give them beautiful, salon-quality hair-color results, restoring their confidence and helping them be their best selves.” can become “Show from Brazilian women that Koleston home hair-color will take the beautiful, salon-quality hair-color results, destroying their confidence and stop them be their best selves.” 
  1. List all the ways you can make the reversed problem statement work.
One idea to do it is to use a product that transforms the color into the exact opposite (white becomes black, blue becomes red, etc.). Or one can invent a product that stains the clothes when you are putting them. Or a product that transforms the hair color into something ugly during stressful situations. 
  1. Evaluate your ideas by assigning each a rating from 1 to 10 (the most significant idea) and focus on the highest rated items: there are usually the most probable sources of your problem.
  2. Reverse to get inspired by this new perspective and update your problem statement if needed.
From those 3 ideas, we can focus on the last one “a product that transforms the hair color into something ugly and smell especially bad only on stressful situation.”
When reversed, the idea might grow into a product that leverages what the user is feeling to make their hair look beautiful. 

The reversing technique allows you to tackle your issue in a different way. By trying to solve the reversed version you create new ideas to solve your initial challenge.

 

Did you find new ideas to solve the problem? If yes, congrats! If not move on to the next technique!


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