Innovation Tool: How To Generate Bad Ideas

In our previous article, we made the case for why bad ideas are in fact good for innovation.


At The Strategy Distillery, we use an ideation tool that we call Verso in many of our ideation workshops and Innovation Sprints. It involves thinking broadly about how not to do something and going through the opposite of what you want someone to achieve with your product to provide a list of weaknesses, threats and bugs. These reveal lots of hidden opportunity!


The trick is to be imaginative about what can cause things to go wrong. Assume everything goes wrong! It’s about working through the problem like a grumpy old man or woman. You need to articulate guaranteed failure!


You then flip all the bad points into making the experience good, and voila! It gives birth to lots of new good ideas. Effectively, this technique is about solving a problem in reverse.


Here’s an example;

A table that lists all the ways to achieve a bad fake tan result on the left and all the ways to achieve a successful result on the right

Before you start brainstorming, it’s important to think about what makes for a bad idea.

  • Products that are confusing, unusable, or impractical
  • Experiences that are just a total nightmare for the user
  • Ideas that are bound to end in disaster or physical harm
  • Illegal or unethical ideas

Happy bad ideating!

If you’d like to talk about changing the way you ideate, please drop me a line –