Your Study Guides and Strategies content starts here!

The opposite of a
correct statement is
a false statement.
But the opposite of
a profound truth may well
be another profound truth.
Niels Bohr, 1885 - 1962
Danish Physicist

Thinking and recall series

Radical thinking

Are you looking for new ideas? Has your path reached a dead-end?
Are your options limited, or just invisible?

Often the way we experience the world is built on and bordered by our experiences! When we find ourselves in a situation, we form solutions with “shortcuts” based upon patterns we have “learned” in our lives.

Most of the time, these shortcuts serve us well by providing answers based upon how we have solved problems in our past. They provide efficient rules that guide us in decision making and problem solving. This is also called a heuristic approach to learning, discovery, and problem solving.

However, these rules also can lock us into stereotypes, pre-conceived ideas, and uncritical analysis. When they are not helpful, one strategy or approach can be radical thinking, an approach to creatively engage with options!

Perhaps radical thinking may help you generate new ideas? Let's try this radical three-screen process.

  1. First, briefly summarize your situation or challenge.
  2. Now list three radical "O's" or options
    Think quickly and creatively. Think in terms of opposites, even contradictions.
    Brainstorm your way out-of-the-box!
  3. For each radical O, 1 - 3, enter up to three middle "O's" or options.
  4. Prioritize the M-O's after printing to consider the best solutions.

Situation example 1:
My elderly grandmother can’t get to the phone in emergencies.
Opposite mode: Move her out of her house to assistive living.
One option mode: get a wireless device for her to wear that calls.

Situation example 2:
I talk too much
Opposite mode: I will be silent.
One option mode: I will practice active listening.

Situation example 3:
I am disorganized.
Opposite mode: I will do nothing.
One option mode: I will create and prioritize a “to-do list” for a few items and ignore the rest.


Thinking and recall series

Concentrating | Radical thinking | Thinking aloud/private speech |
Thinking critically | Thinking critically | Thinking creatively | Brainstorming |
Mapping explanation | Make your own map I | Make your own map II |
Thinking like a genius: Creative solutions | Famous thinkers | Blog

Flash exercise contributed by Joe Landsberger