Don’t leave out the impossible


Someone had to try the first egg

“When the final result is expected to be a compromise, it is often prudent to start from an extreme position.”
–John Maynard Keynes

To generate ideas at AirBNB, they think about a horrible 1-star experience and work their way up to a mind-bending 11-star experience.

The 11-star ideas don’t have to be realistic. They don’t even have to be possible. Founder Brian Chesky explains:

If you want to build something that’s truly viral you have to create a total mindfuck experience that you tell everyone about.

And yet, so many brainstorming sessions loiter around the bus stop of possible, feasible, and probable.

Whether you’re designing an app, planning a surprise birthday party, or tackling climate change, you must include the “impossible” in your solution set.

In the brainstorms of history, manned-flight, telephones, space travel, and artificial intelligence were once on the other side of possible. Impossible is a construct.

Don’t leave out the impossible. It’s harmless. It’s costless. And it’s necessary: if you want to build a future that doesn’t exist, you need to imagine it first.