Wrong Thinking: The Key to Thinking Differently

wrong thinking

In the The Big Bang podcast we provoke and discuss possible futures, which means we have to ask ourselves “what’s possible?” To consider possibilities we have to engage in divergent thinking, and one way to do so is wrong thinking; that is the topic of this episode.

Remember the following sentence when coming up with new ideas: Perception separates the innovator from the imitator.

Great inventors and innovators engage in divergent or “wrong” thinking, which allows them to explore the full realm of possibilities for a solution – no matter how silly or far-fetched. They’re not necessarily concerned with the most logical solution, and certainly not with one that draws on “conventional wisdom.” As modern-day inventor Sir James Dyson puts it:

We’re taught to do things the right way. But if you want to discover something that other people haven’t, you need to do things the wrong way… When I was doing my vacuum cleaner, I started out trying a conventionally shaped cyclone, the kind you see in textbooks. But we couldn’t separate the carpet fluff and dog hairs and strands of cotton in those cyclones. It formed a ball inside the cleaner or shot out the exit and got into the motor. I tried all sorts of shapes. Nothing worked. So then I thought I’d try the wrong shape, the opposite of conical. And it worked.

Innovators don’t just think differently, they perceive differently.

When it comes to creativity, being right isn’t the point. Because in comparison to what is, true creative ideas a wrong; they challenge the status quo. Creativity is all about generating ideas that are wrong, that make no sense.


Because it helps shift your perspective. You see, innovators perceive differently from others because they engage their innovation breeding habits. And wrong thinking is one of many ways to help us reframe reality, shifting your perception of the world, by deliberately provoking it.

This is what it takes to innovate.

Some questions we discussed on this episode:

  • What is wrong thinking?
  • Why does it matter?
  • How do you engage in wrong thinking?
  • How can organizations engage in wrong thinking?
  • Deadpool!

What problem solving approaches do you use to come up with novel ideas?

Let us know on Twitter @jorgebarba and @adrianpedrin.

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The Big Bang is a weekly podcast. Tune in every Tuesday for more discussions on what’s possible.

Intro audio is by Arturo Arriaga, outro audio is Candyland by Guy J.