Monday, January 11, 2010

Keep them wondering

Questions provide a catalyst for thinking. Leaders can promote innovative thinking by posing interesting questions - things they have been wondering about. Questions draw people's attention to things they wouldn't otherwise think about.

The leader doesn't always have to be the one asking the questions. The questions you come up with are based on your own experience and mindset. If everyone in your team put forward questions for people to think about, you'd get an exponential increase in the power of your collective thinking. Encourage your team to exercise and express their curiosity by proposing their own questions for discussion.

Your decision as to where to focus your innovation effort can lead to competitive advantage. To choose the best focus, you need a good flow of questions.

If you are the only person asking the questions, you limit the range of challenges that can be examined. Everyone has a different set of perceptions and experiences, and will see different areas where innovation could be applied.

Encourage your people to take notice of what is happening around them and to search actively for new problems or questions, rather than just reacting to the problems that present themselves.

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