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Jumpstart Innovation with Adventurous Thinking

Lesson 19 of 37

Practicing Sideways: The DeTest Tool

Sally Dominguez

Jumpstart Innovation with Adventurous Thinking

Sally Dominguez

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Lesson Info

19. Practicing Sideways: The DeTest Tool

Lesson Info

Practicing Sideways: The DeTest Tool

The Detest Tool is the culmination of Part One you. What don't we like? This is interesting, so those in the audience, I would love you to try this and watching. Have a go at this: First of all, we need to understand that we're looking for the way we don't normally think; again, we don't want to think with our expertise, we don't want to think with our comfortable self, we're pushing ourselves into bearable discomfort and this one is quite extreme. In its extremeness, it's kinda similar to parkour, but its not an inversion. This is all coming from you; it's extremely personal. So because it's extremely personal, we need to have an issue that we're dealing with that we also feel strongly about in order for me to have you feel the pain of bearable discomfort that you're about to get, alright? So, here's what I need you to do. I want you to think about something in daily life that really, really annoys you. Hot tip: Normally in my workshops, it's something at work like: "My coworkers driv...

e me mad; they never listen" or "I hate people coming in late" or, like, these are really trivial things but, you know, it's often the trivial things that really gets up our nose. So I want you to think of something that actually emotionally moves you in its annoying-ness, alright, something. And once you've done that, I want you to think of the obvious solutions to that. Like, just, on your bit of paper, write down, I don't know, three of the obvious solutions. So many times, I get, "My coworkers totally annoy me, "they don't listen to me," "my coworkers totally annoy me, "they talk all the time," "my coworkers totally annoy me, "they don't do the work they're supposed to do." It's often a work thing, family, "my kids don't do the laundry," I get that a lot. So just think of the obvious solutions now, obvious solutions to this right now are gonna be stuff that you've probably thought of before, this thing annoys you, it's been annoying you for a while, you feel strongly about it, so you've probably thought of some basic solutions, they may not have been implemented, but you know, that's the thing. Alright, so now, here is the bit, the bearable discomfort bit, and this is hard. Before, I'm gonna preface this next slide by saying, I want you to think outside the realms of ethics, legalities, right? We're looking for seriously extreme. Work with me on this, you don't have to tell us what the seriously is, I think I've heard them all. But it's gotta start with extreme. I want you to think of a solution that you would never, ever execute, but it actually solves the problem. I'm gonna give you some examples, but just think for a second. Alright, it might be unethical, it might be unlawful, it totally solves the problem, just in a way that you would never, ever contemplate. And then, when you go "that's absolutely heinous" and "absolutely not," I want you to think about, how could you normalize that? How could you take that, and without changing the essence of that solution, this is a solution you will never normally come up with. You hate it, you hate the solution and we never, ever come up with a solution that we hate, it just doesn't happen. We try and change it immediately to something that's acceptable, but in this case, we're gonna say, "Okay, we personally don't like that, "but we're gonna make it work. "We're gonna make it legal, we're gonna make it ethical." But it still remains, in its heart, that original thing that you never, ever would do. Let me give you an example that was a bit emotional at the time. I was running a class, various people, and one older business dude said, "My team drives me crazy. "They're way younger than me, and they talk over "the top of me all the time, and basically, "all I want them to do is what I tell them to do, "and they almost make fun of me, they never do what I want." So, I said, oh. So he's at a table, and I say, "Oh, okay, well so, what will be the obvious, "sort-of worst solution you can possibly think of, "but would actually have them doing what you want." He's like, "Uh, oh, okay uh..." and somebody else at the table goes, "Well, you could drug them." I'm like, "Great, that's great, would you ever--" "No, I would never drug them!" I'm like, "Well, no, that's good, "that's where we're gonna go." Okay, so, we could drug them and we could have pure, beautiful compliance, right, but we can't drug them, we know we can't, but let's start with that. Let's start with an extreme thing that would solve the problem, and then from that thing, let's make it legal, let's make it ethical. He had a lot of issues with this, "You can't drug them!" I'm like, "No, I got it, it's alright, we're moving on now." So his table, on his behalf, continued on. They're like, okay, we can't drug them, but what can we do that's in that same vein? Can we provide more dopamine? Can we give them more access to sunlight? Can we use color therapy? What can we do, in that environment that is gonna make people happier and more compliant? Not compliant in a bad way, but like, let's lift the joy of being there. Let's basically do what a drug would do. Let's make them either more comfortable, or let's make them happier, in that way, we will then get a group of people that might actually pull together a little better. He didn't like it. We could give them healthy food, we could up their vitamins, we could up their exercise and have them exercise together as a team, which would then build as well this idea that they could all pull together. His whole table was really into this solution, they were coming up with all sorts of stuff that combined a whole lot of these elements. Coming up with a really cool solution, but the dude was not happy and he kept going, "But you can't drug people!" I was like, "No, it's true." We've moved on from that now, but this is an example of something extreme. You have to come up with that extreme thing 'cause you will never come up with that and he would never have come up with the solutions that filtered out of that. Once you bring them back to the reasonable, you've started with something in a place that you never would normally go. That's what's really important. Does that make sense? Did anyone come up with something that really bugged them and a really heinous solution that's not, like, too terrible to say? It drives me crazy when someone rides your bumper when you're driving. Yes. And I've thought, oh, and you can't, but I'm like, "I would just slam my breaks." I totally agree, I so want to do it every single time! Alright, (woman talks) who does? I do. (audience laughs) Alright, so, they're tailing us like no tomorrow, they're riding our bumper, we want to slam the breaks on, we know that they will slam into the back of us. Of course, they are liable for that, that's sort of not the point. Yeah, it's really not the point because also what would happen if they slam into the back of us is our airbags don't go off and theirs do, so they get cushioned and we don't. I know that from Cars, you gotta be slammed from the front so that would really... so what was your, what are you gonna filter that into? I just drive exactly the speed limit. I'm sorry, is this a 25 mile an hour zone? So that's what you do, but let's go back to that. Now, what is the equivalent? What is the safe and other equivalent of, "I'm gonna slam the breaks on." What are we doing to that person when we're slamming the breaks on? We're shocking them, it's super aggressive, I don't like it. But, we're going where we don't like, right? This is bad territory, but you never, ever think in this realm, so forcing yourself to think of a solution like that, more so, forcing yourself for another three minutes to actually come up with the details of how to deliver that solution. It's forcing yourself into, "dark," yes, but it's forcing you into what's not been done. It's forcing you into that state of bearable discomfort, which is where you want to be 'cause once you've felt it, you'll understand the possibilities. So who can help me on that, what can we do? Yes, Lee. You could just slow down to a stop at a normal progression-- You totally could. But stop. You could, but it'd be a similar thing, you'd do it in more, sort of slow-mo and they'd just work, slowly tail down behind you, yeah. Anyone else think of anything? I think you... I think you need to just tamp it down and chill, and put some music on... You do, but that's what you normally do. And keep doing... No, this is what you need to do 'cause what I normally do, I'd be the one with the breaks, you know, jimmy-jacking around, getting somebody pissed off and they, you don't know where they're gonna go. It's a hornet reaction or it's someone who will pull back. I've had times where I have stuck my finger in the hornet's nest by doing the tap-tap and getting aggressive. So I'm not advocating you to ever stick your finger in the hornet's nest, but I'm saying that if sticking your finger in the hornet's nest was a solution to something that's really bugging you, then start with that solution and now work out how we can make that happen without it literally being a finger in a hornet's nest. That's why, you pull back you get mellow That's true. and you just bring it about. Yes? So what you're saying that by completely, like, putting on the breaks, that shocks them, so you need to think of some other way to shock them that won't result in an accident? Yeah, so that's the type of thinking. You don't really want to shock anybody on the road, but that's not the point. We're not saying do your extreme thing, what we're saying is explore it for five minuets because it's super uncomfortable and being uncomfortable is the new normal in adventurous thinking. So what you want to do is provoke yourself into thinking about the things that you don't normally want to or tend to think about because it's in that place that you'll come up with unexpected connections. It's probably nothing to do with the car, but in thinking about that, how could I actually do that? Like if I was trying to do that, if I was trying to shock someone and I didn't want to cause an accident, but I was trying to cause shock, what is it? We don't need a solution from this, but it will send you in unexpected directions. I visualize pushing a little button that will put up a sign that says... I know! So that's what I came up with when I was thinking, I wish I had something, and then I thought, what I need is one of those inflatable things that goes "woo" at the football game. Like, all you really need is the guy with the arms going woo! Like you don't actually want to upset anybody, really what you want to do is just wave and go, "What!" You don't want to be aggressive about it, 'cause nobody wants that, but like if you wanted something, then just the Woo Dude would be, you know. Or you could just bond a corkscrew coming out of the back of the car... No, I'm gonna say no to the corkscrew (laughs). The blades on the side... So this is the Detest Tool-- have you got something? Okay, this is the Detest Tool, it's the idea-- Dan? I was just saying, how to shock them, in a good way. How could you shock them with something delightful that made them smile or was so, you know, unexpected that it broke them out of this peace of mind with their tailgating you. Right, and that's it! So you've gone from something that you wouldn't have thought of and so that ultimate solution which could be, "Let's bring more joy to the situation." Like, if you make people laugh, it diffuses the tension. Dude's only driving up on you're bumper because they're mad, so you are now gonna reach out by doing something that makes everybody around you just go, "Haha, that's cool," including the person that's bumpering you, right? But in coming to that, you've gotta head to this extreme thought because otherwise it's not gonna be part of the picture. Well, it probably will be with Dan because you already think like this. Um, what if you had a sign, a motion detector and if they got too close, a sign popped up that said, "If you can read this sign, please back up." (audience chuckles) You could, you could, but Irene, I really, if you want to, I kind of like the translation from something super extreme and angry into something that recognizes we're people and you just go, super extreme and sort of friendly, diffuses the situation but it's also something you'd never normally come up with. A sign, but instead of it popping up when you get too close, it only pops up when you're the right distance and it's something you want people to see. Oh, I love that! So if they get too close it goes away and they realize, "Oh, I gotta be this distance or else I don't get to see that cool thing, whatever it is," see. So it's the reverse. That is awesome. So it's a reward. I love it, thank you.

Class Description

The rise of design thinking has revolutionized the way we solve problems—helping us open our minds, embrace our imaginations and be more innovative. But what if we could take the design thinking process to an even higher level? What if we could be less reactive and more proactive in our thinking?

Award-winning inventor, journalist, educator and speaker Sally Dominguez created the adventurous thinking methodology to promote an agile mindset, which is necessary for consistently innovative practices. Even the best of us can get stuck in our default “expert” neural pathways. Adventurous thinking helps us get out of those ruts, reignite our curiosity and tap into the underutilized parts of our brains.

This two-day course introduces the Five Lenses—negative space, parkour, thinking sideways, thinking backwards and rethinking—which Sally has used to help some of the biggest corporations, organizations and government agencies throughout the world integrate innovation into their work. By the end, you’ll have the tools you need to transform your thought processes and explore true innovation.

In this class, you’ll learn how to:

  • Harness your curiosity to think outside the probable and explore the possible.
  • Use multiple perspectives to achieve a deeper understanding.
  • Experience “bearable discomfort” to force your neural pathways to open up.
  • Disregard small daily failures at home and at work.
  • Get your radical ideas accepted by others.
  • Know what you don’t want and why that’s important.


Ivana Vucinic

This class is truly AMAZING! It is really unique and it got me thinking in new and innovative ways. Very much out of the box thinking! Makes you become courageous, Well done, Sally!!!

Sukey Dominguez

Jumpstart Innovation with Adventurous Thinking exceeded my expectations! Sally brought practical tools that, "lenses" to flip every situation inside out and find the possibilities in every situation. As one who works to lead teams, healthcare providers facing incredible demands to achieve results in population health / ultimately global health and the wellness of business operations, I'm thrilled to have found this course. Design is one thing, taking risk is another. I'm inspired by Sally because she drives energy to see what CAN be in the future. This is a unique class and I look forward to her next offering.