Reverse It is a simple game that can help a design team get unstuck when trying to solve a problem, or to generate new ideas. Instead of solving the actual problem, the team solves the reverse problem.
For example, if the problem is how to increase conversion, design a solution that would decrease conversion. If the problem is how to help people find information to make decisions, design a solution that would make it harder for them to find information, or harder to make decisions.
It’s interesting to see just how powerful this game is. By identifying a way to do the opposite, it is easier to identify and explore key factors causing a particular design approach to fail. It also helps the team think about what a successful solution may look like, because the opposite is now clearer.
Make this more fun and game-like by:
- Making sure that the opposite questions are more extreme than you would otherwise do
- Encouraging fast responses & a large volume of ideas
This game will be most useful when a team are already in the middle of working on a problem, and are getting stuck. In this case, no preparation is necessary.
It could, however, be played as a deliberatelty-planned game involving actual product users or the design team. If run like this, a little preparation may be necessary – for example, coordinating user participants, a list of problems to reverse, or ‘negative’ situations to design a solution for.
Explain the design problem to participants. Provide them with a reversal scenario, or allow them to come up with their own.
Ask participants to brainstorm and design a solution to the reversed problem, then explain their solution.
Teams may like to immediately follow with a design for the original problem.
Little to no analysis is needed for this game. Its purpose is to help teams look at a problem in a different way and break out of existing patterns, not to create a real design solution.