“Brave New World” Reverse Brainstorm and Covid-19

Andy Patterson

Andy Patterson

Head of Research and Global Partner

When Aldous Huxley wrote the novel “Brave New World” he had just been through the horrors of first world war. Perhaps that’s why he imagined a world with no poverty, sickness, or sadness.  He looked through the other end of the telescope. What would it mean to live in a world where we could prevent the horrors that he had witnessed?

Of course this then also forced him to question the so called “utopia” that resulted, and the book proceeds to explore the question “what is society missing in this utopian world?”. Plenty it seemed, was the answer. In a totalitarian world engineered through bottle-grown babies and hypnotic persuasion rather than through brutality, somehow the result was that life was meaningless. On a diet of genetically modified babies and boundless consumption, and of soma, a drug that confers instant bliss with no side effects, we had lost the very heart and reason for being.  Utopia yielded to a new word “dystopia”.

Looking at an issue from the opposite side often reveals hidden factors that you would otherwise miss. At Arcadia we use a technique called “reverse brainstorming” to get a problem and challenges to be viewed from an opposite point of view. Instead of asking “how can we make the boat go faster?” we ask “how can we slow it down?” This reveals new ideas when we invert the question again to reveal things that can reverse the effect of “slowing the boat down”. Sometimes it’s easier to see positives by re-framing a negative lens.

Covid-19 presents with real challenges to our lifestyle. There will be things that we miss and things that (maybe strangely) we enjoy. Chatting with your neighbours (at a safe distance) is one that comes to mind. The spirit of shared adversity also brings its own comfort.  

What are your negatives and how can you reverse them? What are your positives and how can you keep them?

Want to Learn More?

Choose your language