Leadership / Management

Are you asking the right questions?

IStock_000002807562XLargeWe don't need more answers, we need more powerful questions.

A recent FastCompany article featured the work of Bill O'Connor at Autodesk who set out to find the secret to innovation. He worked with a team of students from Hult International Business School and came up with these six questions:

  1. What could I look at in a new way? (Steve Jobs looked at the computer in a new way, leading to the Mac and the personal computer revolution.)
  2. What could I use in a new way? (Paleolithic humans turned fire from a scourge into a means of cooking, heat, light, and protection.)
  3. What could I re-contextualize in space or time? (The Sumerians moved language from spoken to written form, expanding its power and reach.)
  4. What could I connect in a new way? (Thomas Edison connected the light bulb to the electrical grid, leading to electrified cities.)
  5. What could I change, in terms of design or performance? (Nearly 3 million years ago, the world’s first “innovator” transformed a simple rock into a stone hand-axe.)
  6. What could I create that is truly new? (In 1776, American colonists created the first “intentional” nation, based on specific abstract principles.)

When you begin asking powerful questions, make sure you are focusing in inquiry and not advocacy or you will quickly shut off the creative and collaborative flow of ideas.

Turns out that innovation is not invention. Innovation involves a fresh look at what is versus the creation of something brand new, insights if you will. Our i2a:Insights to Action Strategic Thinking System is based on this premise and develops the ability to ask questions and facilitate collaboration. 

Here are a few titles for training your team on innovation from our Business Learning Institute (contact pam@bizlearning.net for more information).

Are you looking for answers or asking more questions?