The more beautiful the question…
Do you ever remember being told as a kid to stop asking questions? While the intentions might have been genuine – a bit of peace and quiet, this was in fact creativity being quashed.
There was of course always going to be a knock on effect and in today’s business world, questioning is still sometimes frowned upon. Asking questions feels uncomfortable. Admitting you don’t understand goes hand in hand with the fear that you will look incompetent. How many of us in today’s world of expertise are brave enough to properly challenge a brief put in front of them by a client?
Living in a world of constant change, business owners want immediate solutions. Society readily celebrates those who are quick to provide solutions. Commercial and financial pressures mean we are reluctant to slow down and question the issue or problem properly.
People’s natural reaction is to ‘brainstorm’ an idea, employing all their creative abilities to develop a quick and beautiful solution.
However, brainstorming often hits a wall for a number of reasons. We only have so many ideas, brainstorming has a counter-creative tone to it where people only give answers that they are inevitably judged on and sessions are typically dominated by a few “big idea” people.
Sometimes there’s actually a bigger problem behind that issue on the table, something that is being skirted around and not being interrogated. Ultimately this is key. Asking the right questions can often mean the difference between success and failure.
Albert Einstein once wrote, “If I had an hour to solve a problem and my life depended on the solution, I would spend the first 55 minutes determining the proper question to ask, for once I know the proper question, I could solve the problem in less than five minutes.”
Discovering problems requires just as much creativity and effort as discovering solutions. Asking questions not only keeps you engaged, it allows you to contribute to the conversation and learn something new. Explorative learning through questioning. While answers often close down thinking, questions open up thinking.
The more beautiful the question, surely the more beautiful the answer. Question storming and discovery sessions should replace brainstorming sessions. The new goal being, to come out of the session with powerful questions which are much more likely to deliver a sense of direction and momentum.