Challenges to provoke ideas

Challenges are a powerful tool to provoke ideas. They don’t have to be, but they are generally questions. Here are some examples to help you. If you need more information or help, or course, contact me via the Contact form. Some challenges need some kind of facilitation – not necessarily professional facilitation. Others actually trigger a dialogue rather than necessarily ideas. Diversity is key, but the more diverse, prepare to offer a reward.

Generally speaking, the more creative the challenge, the more creative the ideas so it is really worth doing.

Provocations can work in a number of ways, but if you can, use them to surprise us or jolt us into an emotional state.


















Or ask questions. I would suggest this is one of the first questions you ask – and definitely the middle managers before you start any innovation activity. The wording here is essential “How can we can secure” We’re not leaving any doubt that we WILL SECURE time, it’s how. The word SECURE is important. It’s not FIND. Finding suggests some doubt or uncertainty. SECURE suggests value.
















This is a photo of someone’s desk. The question is, “how will it change”

















Or use humour to provoke ideas

















This is an example of one where you need some facilitation – that doesn’t need to be professional ‘innovation’ facilitation – it could be that Managers talk about it in their team meetings, but it needs some instruction and direction because for some thinking about leaving their comfort zone takes them out of the comfort zone!

















This one was very much inspired by what Aldi and Lidl have managed to do in disrupting the supermarket business over the last few years – not only is it OK to admit to shopping at a discount supermarket, it’s common dinner party discussion. This Challenge seeks ideas or stories that would provoke someone to talk about your business or service at a dinner party.

















We can also provoke ideas about a business model change. So, software used to come in a box, now it comes as a Service. Music and films used to come in a box from a shop, now it comes through streaming services. What could our business model be if it was offered as a service?

















This can be a telling provocation. It’s not necessarily going to get ideas, but the insights could be invaluable.
















Again, the emphasis is important. It’s not how can WE be more successful, it’s how can we make OUR CUSTOMERS more successful
















If you’re going to innovate to solve a problem, make it a meaningful problem
















Lastly, an exercise you can workshop.















Ask the group to think of their favourite;



-Car manufacturer


-Holiday resort

Then list the things you love about them

Next, underline the things that could be adopted by your business and share with the group