What are Challenging Assumptions?
Challenging Assumptions is a sense-making technique designed to break apart a statement and discover where assumptions may be limiting your options. There are several ways of leading a group through an exercise designed to challenge assumptions.
In one approach, groups start by writing out the stated goal or problem, then underlining every word that implies an underlying assumption. For example:
We need to lay off 20 people this quarter.
Then, for every underlined word or phrase, list the assumption behind it and discuss possible alternatives. Need or want? Do you have to lay people off, or are there alternatives? 20? Why not 50, or 7? and so on.