This technique uses role play to help you replicate the way in which a competitor or influential external stakeholder might think in your situation.

Use this to...

  • Avoid using your motives, values and beliefs to judge a situation.
  • Challenge consensus and assumptions.
  • Spot faulty logic.
  • Reveal alternative pathways.

Try this...

Listen up! Before getting into the role play, why not do Devil’s Advocacy first to really challenge your own assumptions and consider different ways of thinking.

Watch out for...

Avoid the guesswork. You need a sophisticated understanding of your adversary in order to truly behave like them, so pick your advisors well and get brain picking!


  1. Identify advisors with experience and knowledge of your competitor or stakeholder who can help you understand their history, culture and politics.
  2. Connect all research and data to your business theme.
  3. Start to imagine what life is like for them. What cultural details might influence their decisions? Start to capture thinking and ideas from the group. 
  4. Develop a set of first-person questions for your stakeholder that are relevant to your business theme. What are the gaps in your understanding?
  5. Set up a role play in order to pose those questions. What questions arise?
  6. What questions came up during the role play? How might your approach to your business theme change as a consequence?

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