That is Impossible!

Published on April 2, 2019 by

Themes: , ,


To rethink current established procedures


When we want to change issues/things/ideas which previously would have been regarded as impossible


One Hour


Big sheet of paper


In Small Groups


Make a list of things that are currently widely accepted as being impossible, eg It is impossible to…

…get laboratory results instantly

…know if a patient is going to turn up for an appointment until they actually present at reception

…get someone home exactly when we plan to

For each item on the list, have a short session to generate ideas and ask:

  • Is anyone else already doing that?
  • How could we actually do that?
  • How could we come close to doing that?
  • How could we do that at least some of the time?

Review all the ideas. Use the Six Thinking Hats tool to consider all the angles and to get down to the final few ideas. See what can be realistically tested. Run several small-scale tests with volunteers. Share your findings and implement the best ideas.

DOs and DON’Ts

  • DO be prepared for stronger than usual negative thinking when you begin to use this tool, because you are working on something that is widely held to be impossible
  • DO be sure to emphasise the rules of idea generation: suspend judgement, go for quantity, build on others’ ideas etc.
  • DO capture all ideas for possible later development; don’t let laughter put you off. Suggesting that someone tries something thought to be impossible often results in laughter until someone actually does it!
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