Creative thinkers don’t conjure great ideas from nowhere; instead, they look at common things in uncommon ways. In fact, new concepts are rarely wholly original—borrowing and adapting effectively is the secret of good designers. So, when you are at a loss for ideas, look at different yet analogous worlds for inspiration, by asking the question What would____do? This is a great way to break from conventional thinking and jump-start your team’s creativity.
Alternative Worlds challenges you to investigate how a successful organization or group outside your domain would approach a given issue. For example, if your team were tasked with reinvigorating a public library you might ask What would Starbucks do? Doing so requires a deep understanding of their culture, practices, and procedures, in order to determine what aspects can be appropriated for your purposes. Adopting the perspective of a completely different domain is a novel way to shift perspective and uncover potentially breakthrough ideas.