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Welcome to the False Rules tutorial

Click here for the free interactive online version of this technique.

How to use the False Rules technique

To generate new ideas using this method you apply rules to your own probortunity which have already been applied to a different subject but which have not yet been applied to your own. You are taking a rule, quote, idea or suggestion from somewhere else and applying it to your own situation. It is known as a "false" rule because the rule has not been considered as valid before. By getting a false rule and forcing yourself to use it, you find yourself thinking about doing things in a different way than you would normally.

The first thing you need is the false rule itself as the initial stimulus. You can get this from various places, such as rule books for sports or games, instruction manuals, books, or dedicated brainstorming software. Then you establish a set of ideas based on this stimulus. You then use this idea as a bridge between the stimulus and a valid idea which you could actually use to solve your probortunity. The false rule is a stimulus for your new ideas.

One you have got a false rule, there are many ways of using it, including:

1. Directly applying the rule to your current probortunity or situation to see where it leads you and to see if you get some ideas from it.

2. Looking at the reason why the rule exists and seeing if you need something similar or asking yourself whether a similar principle could be used.

3. Looking at the benefits of using the rule or the principle of it. Why was the rule created? What does it mean to follow the suggestion?

Click here for more methods of moving from a stimulus to an idea.

What to watch out for when using the technique

You must be careful not to decide too soon that a specific rule is of no use and getting another instead. If you do this then often you are just trying to choose a false rule which fits into the probortunity you are trying to solve and therefore you end up with a rule which is not random. Again, the skill is to work out HOW the rule can be made to work.

Example of using the False Rules technique:

The probortunity is: Developing new ideas for using the telephone system.

False Rule 1 is: Applicants must be over 18 years old.

Bridging idea: Callers to adult phone lines must prove their age somehow, eg. by answering some questions only adults are likely to know.

Good idea: There could be a special code and PIN number, which any adult can get from a post office by proving their age, which they can later use to access adult phone lines. Any misuse of this number would reveal who had let the numbers be known, and the codes could be cancelled.
False Rule 2 is: Refrigerate after opening.

Bridging idea: A cooling-off period?

Good idea: To stop people using the phone for too long, you could make the phone not accept calls for the same time period that it has just been used for, ie. if you have spent ten minutes on the phone then you cannot make another call for ten minutes.

Please try this technique for yourself and you will certainly improve at coming up with new ideas.

Get a false rule now and try out this technique. Click here for the free interactive technique.

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