The Good, Bad and Interesting – Creative thinking to help your testing

What all are the qualities you look for in a tester?

I know there are lots and lots of qualities –  there are many blog posts related to this question (Just Google it and you will see :)) Among the so called qualities, the lateral/creative thinking attribute is of prime importance..

I was attending a workshop on creative thinking last week and one of the methods mentioned was the Good, Bad and Interesting exercise. This is one of the basic methods to improve your thinking and was put forward by Dr Edward De Bono.

So, what is Good, Bad and Interesting exercise?

It is basically a method to improve your thinking process. It gets you looking at ideas from multiple perspectives with reference to a particular scenario. That sounds cool as a tester, right?

How do you employ this method?

It is very easy to employ this method. Take on a scenario and think what is good about it, what is bad about it and what is interesting about it. Generate as many ideas based on this, but make sure that you are not biased in your thinking. That is; be fairly equal about the ideas you generate for the Good, the bad and the interesting. We are not talking about a “right” answer here, but we are talking about the “possibilities” here.

Let’s see a simple example and some possibilities based on it. When I say “Ice” what possibilities can you think of based on the good, bad and interesting technique?

Good: It’s so cool, we can use it when we are sweating in hot weather. Take a piece and rub on your face or make some juice and put ice in it.

Bad: It’s so cold, that too much of it can make you freeze to death or it is very slippery that you can easily fall over.

Interesting: It is pretty hard and a knife made of ice can kill a person without any trail like finger prints 😉 (noo, I’m not a gangster!) or you can aim a big piece at a running thief and get him with one shot (provided you hit him ;))

As testers, we will have to think of so many possibilities and this fundamental exercise can give you lots of test ideas. Link this to the scenarios in your day to day testing and you can benefit a lot from these.

This is just the tip of an iceberg called Creative Thinking and it’s endless possibilities 🙂

Readers, please share your thoughts and other techniques which can help better testing!

5 thoughts on “The Good, Bad and Interesting – Creative thinking to help your testing

  1. Nandagopal,

    Interesting blog article. I should pick up some more of Edward De Bono’s work. I have only ever read the “Six Thinking Hats”. I like the idea of considering a perspective from all angles, the good, the bad and the interesting. Ideally this thought process should result in more effective testing by dropping tests that we realize are less valuable than originally thought, and allowing our creativity to identify new and more powerful tests to expose issues.


    • Hi Lynn,

      Thanks for your time in reading my blog. I’m also searching for De Bono’s books, fortunately some of them are available in (shipping only in India I think). The six thinking hats was also mentioned in our workshop – it can be termed as fairly advanced stuff when compared with Good, Bad and Interesting. 🙂

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