Mission impossible

Ironically if you make a problem more difficult to solve, it becomes easier to think of solutions because suddenly your thoughts are not anchored to reality. We know it's a hypothetical question, so we don't mind if our answers are hypothetical too.

With this method, you change the problem in some way so that it is even more difficult to solve, and then try to come up with solutions to that more difficult problem. Once you've to some solutions to consider, you think about how those solutions might look if they were brought back down to Earth - if they were made "possible" again.


Imogen has been challenged by her manager to find ways to encourage shoppers on their e-commerce site to add at least one more item to their basket on average. To help her come up with approaches, she makes the problem even harder: "How could we encourage shoppers to add 100 more items to their basket?"

She lists ideas that would achieve this. One of them is that as soon as the user clicks the "Add to basket" button on one item, 100 other related items are automatically added to the basket as well.

While thinking about this idea, she realises that something similar could be done on a smaller scale: When the user adds an item to the basket, a few popular related items are shown and they're asked if they want to add any of these as well.

Imogen's manager likes this idea, and after some quick prototyping it's included in the next round of A/B tests for the "Checkout" flow.

Next chapter →

← Previous chapter

Back to the table of contents