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Solve persistent problems

Use questions to find better solutions

There is power to solve stubborn problems in good questions. Instead of jumping in brainstorming solutions or digging deep in root causes, first ask some questions to open up for better answers.

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How it works

1

Set the stage

Choose a problem. Invite people who can contribute new perspectives. Provide a brief overview. What if the problem is fixed? Why does it exist?

2

Collect questions

Collect exclusively questions for a few minutes. No prefaces, no introductions, no explanations, exclusively questions.

3

Look at the questions

Look at the questions. Is there an overarching theme, a pattern? Are there stand-alone themes? Are there new perspectives? Is there a question that has never been asked? Are there questions where you don't know the answer? Are there any questions that cause them to have a positive or negative reaction?

4

Step to the solution, or ask deeper questions

Do you see a new approach you would like to pursue? Or do you want to deepen a point? In practice, it happens that you need 2-3 rounds to arrive at a promising new approach.

This is why it works

Es ist anders

Normal brainstorming uses retrievable ideas in an existing context. By asking questions, the relevant context is first determined. Knowing the context gets you to better solutions faster.

Leaving familiar patterns

By asking questions, you activate different thought patterns than those used in problem solving. By doing so, you break through old routines that limit you.

Energy boost

By asking questions, you escape the constraints and feelings that exist when you frantically search for a solution to a problem. In most cases, you will feel liberated and more positive after asking the questions. This will give you a boost of energy for the next steps.

The Story

Have you found the path to pain-free innovation yet? Admittedly, we haven't found that path yet.

But there is a point.

The pressure is on. Many organizations need to reinvent themselves and are in the midst of a transformation. They need to question the status quo. And there it is.... They need to ask questions.

Yes questions, there's nothing unusual about that. I can, you might think. I thought so, too.

Until I simply spent one minute writing down questions about a topic in a webinar following guidance from Hal Gregersen of the MIT Management Sloan School. It was a topic for which I didn't know the answer. It was an aha moment. After a minute, there were eight questions on the piece of paper. I felt a surge of energy and knew which direction to continue in.

I began to do research. I asked kids if they have to ask questions at school. No, they don't. They are only asked if they have any questions, but usually no one has any questions. I asked CEOs if employees ask a lot of questions. No, they don't. Young people don't ask questions. But other employees are also more conditioned to come up with solutions. There is little room for questions.

But how can there be creativity and imagination without questions? How can problems be solved if no questions are asked?

Look at the other extreme. Elon Musk. He likes to ask questions using the `first principle` approach, which aims to both break down an issue into components and challenge assumptions, time-honored approaches and standards.

We believe that organizations need more questions. It's not just that better questions reveal better solutions. It's a way to engage the whole organization. Only with questions do true innovations or transformations succeed.

Give it a try! Have more questions!