Brainstorm for Questions Not Answers
At the core of an innovative and capable leader is the ability to ask catalytic questions that uncover false assumptions and lead them down productive, new paths. The Leader’s Dilemma suggests that leaders inherently are shielded from the information they need to do this effectively. The best and most innovative leaders, though, engage a set of tactics and habits to change the world in ways others rarely see. By employing the unique Question Burst™ methodology – an alternative to traditional brainstorming – individuals and leaders can drive purposeful change in their lives, workplaces, homes and communities.
However, you don’t need to be an executive of a Fortune 50 to benefit from the Question Burst™ approach to creating a catalytic question. The process simply allows one to concentrate on a problem—no matter how big or small—and examine alternative vantage points so they can arrive at a new and innovative solution. It takes just three simple steps, as an individual or a team:
- Set the Stage – Select a challenge you care deeply about. Invite a few people to help you consider that challenge from fresh angles. Ideally, choose people who have no direct experience with the problem and whose worldview is starkly different from yours. In two minutes or less, share your problem with your partners.
- Brainstorm the questions – Set a timer and spend the next four minutes collectively generating as many questions as possible about the challenge. Follow two key rules: Don’t answer any of the questions and don’t explain why you’re asking the questions. Go for at least 15-20 questions in four fast minutes. Write all the questions down verbatim, word for word as you hear them.
- Identify a quest – and commit to it – Study the questions and select a few “catalytic” questions from the list, ones that hold the most potential for disrupting the status quo. Commit to pursuing at least one new pathway you’ve glimpsed – and do something about it as a truth seeker. Get to work and find some better answers.