Thursday, March 3, 2011

How to develop a powerful arsenal of creative questions (Innovation Weblog)

Great questions are powerul creative tools, because they can help you to focus your thinking and lead it in fresh, new directions. But how can you develop an arsenal of creative questions that will help you to develop great ideas?

Kevin and Shawn Coyne, the authors of the new book "Brainsteering: A Better Approach to Breakthrough Ideas" have given this challenge a lot of thought, and they have discovered that killer creative questions tend to fall into 5 general lines of inquiry:

- Identifying unsolved customer problems
- "De-averaging" users and activities
- Exploring unexpected successes
- Imagining perfection
- Discovering unrecognized "headroom"

... All of us - individuals, teams, companies, institutions and even whole industries - conduct our work by employing a set of standard operating procedures (SOPs). SOPs might consist of 'rules' in the formal sense - such as laws or government regulations - or they might simply consist of conventional wisdom or habits we've voluntarily adopted. But the world isn't made up of entirely identical situations, so the ideal operating procedure for a particular situation may not be the standard operating procedure at all. Of course, the world changes all the time. And that change... often creates unnoticed cases in which even the new "average" situation no longer fits with the old SOPs. Such situations create what we call 'unrecognized headroom,' where there's a significant opportunity to redefine or retailor a product or process to better fit the specific circumstances of the new situation - thereby providing headroom for performance to pop up above what was previously expected."
A system to get you thinking outside the system. Brilliant. This one's definitely going on my Amazon wishlist.

Read the full article here.

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