Give your team a brain jolt to kickstart creativity, by asking them to question-storm 50 questions in 15 minutes about your topic. It’s a jolt if people are not used to asking a lot of questions. They are used to focusing on answering questions, not posing questions.
Why should you spend time question-storming? Peter Drucker renowned management guru, nailed it when he said,
The most common source of management mistakes is not the failure to find the right answers. It is the failure to ask the right questions… Nothing is more dangerous in business than the right answer to the wrong question.
Are you asking the right questions? The secret to finding the right question that will lead you to the right answer is to ask a lot of questions, especially compelling ones. So be sure to spend time question-finding before you leap into solution-finding.
Note: If you are working with a group of 10 or more people, break down the group into smaller teams of 4-8 people.
I challenged a tech team recently to question-storm 50 questions in 15 minutes using QFT and they were shocked by my request. A chorus of critics burst out sounding alarm bells. “We can’t do this!” they cried. But with a little encouragement they were able to meet the challenge; they just had to break out of their fixed mindsets and limiting beliefs. My task was to keep them focused and stop them from telling stories, or answering questions. For people whose job it is to solve problems, it is hard not dive into solutions.
On reflection the team said question-storming:
As a result they had much better questions for idea generation, and the process helped them generate specific actionable ideas that could really help grow their IT business.
“The important thing is not to stop questioning.” -Albert Einstein
* This process is adapted from The Right Question Institute with permission under their (cc) creative commons licence. Question-storming 50 questions was inspired by Hal Gregersen, co-author of the Innovators DNA.
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