Crazy and Absurd

The title to the video below “MinusIQ: The pill to lower your IQ permanently “is a provocation. The idea with a pill to reduce IQ is absurd and unreasonable. Why would you want to minimise your IQ?

Yet this provocation makes us think. It helps us to step away from our “usual” way of thinking and it can lead to new ideas. Provocations can be used to make great adverts like the company Sleepthinker does in the video.

The provocation Minus IQ Pill could lead to ideas like:

  • Plus Image Pill – a pill that absorbs negative perceptions of other people
  • Superfood to eliminate differences in IQ
  • Develop communication technology that transforms our words so that everyone can “sound” intelligent
  • Minus Goggles – to make everyone seem equally smart

When using a lateral method such as Provocation or PO it is not necessary to explore how we got to a certain point. The value that we get from using a provocation and the ideas that are generated are the man aspect. The aim is to jump off the main thinking road and explore the situation from a new point.

So after the provocation we explore and develop ideas for a new pill or a new way at looking at the IQ concept. A provocation is a new starting point may be the first step towards a new idea and approach that can be investigated.

But how do you write a PO:

  • Reversal – look at how something is normally done and suggest something in the opposite direction.  High IQ is preferable – Low IQ is preferable
  • Wishful thinking. I wish IQ did not matter – let’s show everyone that that it does not
  • Outrageous –something absurd and crazy. Let’s make everyone stupider
  • Escape – look at something that we normally take for granted and then take that aspect away. Take intelligence away
  • Something you hear or spontaneously think – not intended as a provocation but it makes your thinking jump away from the normal thinking rut. You overhear someone saying that “John is stupid and needs to stop faking the answers” and you get the idea that everyone should be as  stupid as John.           

But how do you determine is the provocation is strong and good enough for you to help you explore a subject and generate new ideas. We can be scared of saying something that is provocative (it is important to explain to other people that we are saying something absurd. In de Bono thinking the word PO is used to indicate that something is a provocation). We can be afraid that we cannot get any ideas if we say something absurd, or we may be afraid that other people will laugh at us.

You may start by writing down a couple of provocations and then pick one of them that already has a seed for an idea. Use the little seed to generate some ideas. You can also try to be aware of what you are thinking when you write it. Can you see the provocation? Can you hear it? Smell it or taste it?

The provocation “Cows can fly” is easy to visualise and it may be a great starting  point if you are:

  • Interesting in animals
  • Working with transport
  • Bored
  • Writer
  • Filmmaker
  • Advertiser

The provocation “Roses smell like dishwater” is also easy to imagine. What great provocations can you hear or taste?

Photo “Blue Eye” by dan

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