Looking at the opposite is a great way for reversing your perspective and provoking new solutions. There are many examples where a reverse viewpoint has led to a new solution:
- Internet shopping comes to you instead of you going to the shop.
- Bashing the bottom of a ketchup bottle will only send the sauce to the bottom through reactive force. But bash the top and the sauce will come flooding out.
- Some farmers are now ploughing fields at night as this stops weeds germinating in the sunlight.
- The birth control pill came about through experiments to prevent the birth of pests with hormones instead of resorting to pesticides. Not that I’m saying kids are pests :S
- Even if you tell a child they can’t do something- they will find a way!
Anything with an action can be reversed. You can look at the exact opposite, reverse the order, reverse the subject and even reverse the assumptions behind the statement.
Reversal is all about provoking your imagination to see where it leads your thinking.
Let’s try it! The action is stopping children from watching too much tv.
- The direct opposite: Can we make children watch too much tv? Is your routine at home not giving them any other entertainment options? Are the kids bored and resorting to tv? Can making them watch tv be a good thing? What if you allowed them all-they-can-watch educational programmes or interactive learning DVDs?
- Reversing the sentence order:
- Watching children stopping tv. Maybe kids could run their own club where their goal is to bring together people in local communities to get involved in exciting activities instead of watching tv? Maybe stopping tv could mean kids finding other ways to put on their own entertainment- perhaps a play (why wait or nativity!) or more opportunities to visit the theatre.
- Stopping tv from watching children. Maybe viewing figures should be capped? Kids would book into watch the shows they really want to see, making them conscious of how they spend their remaining time more productively. Maybe a cap and trade scheme could work where kids can earn a right to watch more if they perform better at school. This could work locally as a kind of parental control setting which is managed by the parents with allocated time that can be added to through good results.
- Stopping adults watching too much tv. Perhaps the parents are a bad example and the kids are just following suit?
- Stopping children from too much reading. This is probably not an issue but if the flip side of this is reversed, we can look at what is stopping reading. Maybe a positive reading time vs tv time ratio could be rewarded. Perhaps a barrier to reading is not knowing what books to read. Maybe a kids’ book club could be formed? Perhaps kids could be more engaged with books by reading stories relating to their favourite tv and films. They may even discover the book is better than the film!
What challenges can you reverse to find new solutions?