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Defining an affirmative topic is not an easy exercise for those who are used to problem-solving approaches, because the question that needs to be answered is "What do you want more of?" Problem-solvers are used to answering the question "What do you want less of?"

In the case of Avon Mexico, the problems included a number of gender issues including sexual harassment. Naturally the company wanted to have less gender problems, even to eliminate them. Nonetheless, the inquiry could not begin until an affirmative topic was identified. It took a while, but eventually Avon Mexico was able to determine that they wanted to be the known as the company with the best gender relationships in the workplace.

In another case, a large airline company was having troubles with lost luggage. When asked what they wanted more of, the company executives said they wanted less lost luggage. The AI practitioner said to them, "So, you want to be known as the airline with the least lost luggage?" A new metaphor was required. Finally they agreed they wanted to be known as the company with "exceptional arrival experiences."

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