False Faces - Masks

Type of record:
  • Micro method
  • Creativity technique
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Ideal innovation phases for this method:
  1. Innovation Phase
  2. 1
  3. 2
  4. 3
  5. 4
  6. 5
  7. 6
  8. 7
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This technique, which Michalko translates as "masks", uses inversions: Idea generation by reversing conventional assumptions.

Michael Michalko recommends that challenges tear off these masks: "Problems are often salted with assumptions that prevent creativity." As an example of such a masking, the author shows two lines of equal length.

One of the lines seems to be longer, as it has arrow-like points at both ends pointing outwards. The seemingly shorter line has arrows pointing inwards. If the "mask" of the arrowheads is removed, the true (same) length of the lines becomes visible.

Michalko cites an example from the industry where a reversal was successfully applied. At the time Henry Ford entered the automotive business, the conventional approach was "get people to work. Ford reversed the principle in "Bring the work to the people" - the result was the assembly line.

Nothing is sacrosanct (untouchable) and any assumption can be questioned. Reversals destabilize our conventional thought patterns and release information that emerges in provocative new combinations. It is less about finding the right answer directly than about new perspectives on existing information.

"False Faces" is related to the "headstand technique" - but to reverse in the sense of "False Faces" generally does not mean to reverse negatively, as with the headstand technique.
  • Effective for incremental innovations and improvements
  • Effective for low complex challenges
  • Effective for marketing innovations
  • Effective for medium complex challenges
  • Effective for product innovations
  • Effective for radical innovations
  • P5 Idea Finding (ideation - idea generation - creative phase - incubation)
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