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Idea star

Field of application

#Problem Analysis


Resume / Brief description

This game is based on the principle that an idea not only has one but many opposing ideas. This game is a great tool to see those possibilities we are overlooking.
The idea star needs a starting idea and uses it to generate a "creative chain reaction" finding series of contrary ideas that even as opposed to the original one, solve the problem too.


Category: Ideation


Target group
  • Entrepreneurs
  • I&D teams
  • Innovation teams
  • Students
  • Community


Group size

This game can be played individually or as a team.



Find new creative ideas to be used to solve a problem or create a product or a service




  • Idea star format
  • Pen
  • a digital platform to write ideas. It could be a digital board (Google jamboard, Microsoft Board or other) or a conventional word processor


  • 10 to 50 minutes.
Implementation - Overview

This creativity technique uses an initial idea to generate new ones. Hence, the first step will be to select a starting idea and write it down on the format. Then the player or players will generate new ideas thinking in an idea opposed to the original that gets the results we are looking for too.


Implementation - Guidelines

1. Define and write the problem to solve in a place where everybody can read it. For example: How can we increase our sales in the store?
2. Provide each participant (individual or team) an Ideas Star format. This format can be printed in a personal version to be used on a standard table, or in a big version, to be placed on a wall. Each point of the star will be used to write down an idea.
3. Ask players to provide an idea that solves the challenge and write it down anywhere around the star. Each participant can have a different starting idea.
4. Now ask players to answer the following question:
"Which would be an idea that also solves the problem, but is opposite to the one just written?

As each idea has several components and attributes, other ideas can be opposite to it, in each one of those elements. This way we can find several "opposite" ideas to each one. For example, if a team is working on the idea "We can have a musical show in the store every weekend to bring more clients", some possible opposite ideas can be:
- We can have a musical show every day except weekends
- We can have a show outside the store
- We can have a very quiet show in the store
- The clients can do a musical show

5. Repeat the process using the new written idea
For example, if the new idea is: The clients can do a musical show, possible opposite ideas can be:
- The no-clients can do a musical show (as a way to turn them into clients)
- The clients can do a business show (maybe a business speed-dating event)
- We can do music for the clients (maybe we can use subliminal sounds to increase the desire to buy)
- The clients can`t do music (maybe we can give music classes to them or their children, while are buying)

Instruct the participants: "Write down the new ideas around the star repeating the same question for them. If a proposed idea is already written down, skip it, and think in another one. Remember that an idea has several opposites."

As you can see, it is possible to repeat the process several times. Once no more opposite ideas can be found, the participant can take another format and use a different starting idea to build another Ideas star.

At the end, you can consolidate all the ideas generated during the exercise into one final document.


Example of application:

An oil transportation company was working in ways to improve its efficiency in the loading and unloading processes. After some sessions, the team was short of ideas so they decided to try some creativity techniques in order to increase the amount of ideas to work with. One of the creativity techniques used was Ideas Star.

The team met in a room and wrote the main purpose of the session on the blackboard on the wall: To find innovative ways to increase the efficiency of loading and unloading process. The 8 participants were divided into 4 couples and given 4 Ideas star formats to each couple as well as pens and colors. The couples were formed mainly with people coming from different organizational areas.

The facilitator provided some minutos for each team to find the starting idea for each Ideas star format.

The facilitator presented the activity as a competition, the winner being the couple who found the more ideas. Chocolate bars were presented as the prize for the winner.

The facilitator explained the "multiple opposites" concept and asked participants to be creative and take some risks when searching for solution ideas.

The time provided was 20 minutes. The facilitator also played background music to add some creativity mud to the environment.

The outcome of the session was the incredible amount of 52 new ideas, many of them with a great potential for effectively improving the process efficiency. A triple deal make the facilitator have to search for more chocolate bars (at the end he gives a chocolate to each participant)


Templates, Graphics for download Idea Star Format