Often when you try to think of solutions to a problem, you're still grounded in reality. If you need to get from point A to B, you don't consider a teleporter, because they don't exist. Provocation is an ideation method where you intentionally consider radical or unrealistic ideas to see if they lead you to less radical and more realistic ones.

Once you come up with a radical and unrealistic solution to the problem, look at what principle makes that idea work. That principle could be used to solve the problem more realistically.


Marissa has been asked to design a new dashboard for the platform she works on. The problem with the current platform is that there are so many panels and charts on it that users have a hard time finding what they need, and have to scroll up and down constantly to look at different parts of the page.

She considers some unrealistic ideas to solve the problem first. She comes up with an idea involving virtual reality: The user puts a headset on, and the dashboard panels and charts are displayed all around them in 3D space, so they can just turn their head to the left or right to see more charts, and learn where things are "in space".

Marissa's company will never go for an idea involving virtual reality for their web based platform, but the radical idea has given Marissa a more realistic one. She'll split the dashboard into "spaces" that are centred on a common theme, and put the relevant charts and panels in each themed space. That way, the user can look at the space they're interested in, and if they want to look at something else they can always quickly tap on another space, similar to turning their head in virtual reality.

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