Tool Tip: Break Conventions with Flip

At Flying Fish Lab, we’ve learnt that category norms – the tried-and-proven best practices – often hinder our ability to come up with new ways to solve a challenge. One way to help get us out of this rut is an ideation exercise called Flip.

What is it?

Flip takes what is commonly true about your category, product or service, then flips each of these to reveal their opposites, or something different, to inspire new ideas. It challenges familiarity, to generate surprise and re-appraisal.

Why it works?

By intentionally using the lens of the opposite of a commonly-held norm, you create the ideal environment to consider extreme changes to the situation. It acknowledges the participant’s current expertise on the subject, and encourages a safe exploration through a contrasting view. It works for most topics, as long as your participant has personal experience on the topic to start from.

How to run the exercise

  1. Define your ideation topic – make sure your participants have enough knowledge of or experience with the topic

  2. List out all the norms or truths about your topic – How should it look, taste, sound? Where would you buy it? Who typically likes it? How is it made? Where does it come from? What is it for?

  3. For each norm or truth, write your flip – the top of mind opposite or something that would be a contrast to the established norm (e.g the flip of “white” does not need to be “black”, it could be another colour but white). There might be a few, it’s ok to capture these too.

  4. Pick the three most interesting “flips”

  5. Ideate – by focusing on these flips. what solutions come to mind?

To help you practice Flip, here are a few examples to illustrate. Follow the link to download your free exercise template!

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