Channel your Alter-Ego for Creative Ideas

Alter-Ego is a fun exercise where small groups imagine how they would go about solving a given problem if their team were led by a famous character, fictional or real.

Many creativity techniques use the principle of substitution to get a new perspective and stimulate new lines of thought. In this example you swap your current thinking for someone else’s with often varied and surprising results.

How would Cat Woman go about positioning your brand as a thought leader in virtual reality? What would Steve Jobs do to improve your latest communications package? How would Don Draper get your core messages across to millennials?

You can either choose someone you think embodies the right qualities for the job to help develop your vision, or someone at the opposite end of that scale, to explore less conventional ideas.

How to do it?
  • Create the list of people, dead or alive, fantasy or real in the session by writing the letters of the alphabet A-Z on a flip chart and asking people to shout out names of people who they want at their fantasy dinner party.
  • Share your well-formed problem statement with the group. E.g. How can we improve customer service?
  • Pick one of your advisors e.g. Lady Gaga. Ask yourself what would she do with your problem?
  • Write down everything that comes to mind about it (don’t worry whether or not it seems directly relevant at this stage) and try to use your own or the group’s thoughts to generate more ideas and considerations.
  • Choose the thought or idea that seems to have the most promise then brainstorm ideas about your subject for 5-10 minutes.
  • Keep working through your panel, choosing a different advisor when you run out of steam. This is part of the tool’s effectiveness – don’t overthink it, just change it around when ideas dry up.
See also  SMART Goals

You can break into smaller teams to each take a different person and work through the challenge for 10 minutes, reporting back to the group.

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