Headstand technique

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The headstand technique is a creativity technique for problem solving and brainstorming . It is based on a reversal of the original task. Because she works with a falsification, it is the provocation technique of Edward de Bono closely related.

The headstand technique is often called the reverse technique or flip-flop technique.


The method works in four steps:

  1. Reverse the task ("turn it upside down").
  2. Find solutions for the reverse problem.
  3. Turn these solutions to the reverse problem upside down.
  4. Develop concrete solution ideas from the results.

Because the opposite task is unusual, established thought patterns do not inhibit, and finding solutions is usually easier.

Sample application

The task is to develop new service ideas for a supermarket.

  1. Question: How could the task be reversed? Answer: What service could customers offer the supermarket?
  2. Question: What could something like that look like? Answer: The customers clean the supermarket.
  3. Question: What does the opposite of that mean? Answer: The supermarket helps customers with cleaning.
  4. Question: How could we achieve this? Answer: The supermarket arranges chimney sweeps, cleaning services, window cleaners, etc.

Advantages and disadvantages

  • The reversals can provide unexpected and useful insights into the problem.
  • The headstand technique often fails or produces a matter of course as a result.


  • Edward de Bono, Serious Creativity: Developing New Ideas through the Power of Lateral Thinking .
  • Michael Zopfkopf: VanGundy, Techniques of Structured Problem Solving .

Individual evidence

  1. Innovation laboratory of the University of Magdeburg: The headstand technology - brainstorming by reversing the task . 2014