Keep asking innovation questions

published 6-8-2014

Keep asking innovation questions

A good question can trigger new thinking in your team and can reinforce alertness and focus. A sharp question can trigger a different way of viewing, a fresh perspective that bring new solutions for our challenges.

When asking an innovation-related question, you can generate richer answers by repeating it. For example during a monthly meeting. Suppose you ask the question: What have you heard in your talks with customers that might point to a new uncatered need? You could then reserve the last 20 minutes of the meeting for listening to the answers. The next month you will then ask the same question.

If you keep repeating this question, you will deeply influence the perspective of your team members. When they are in a dialogue with a customer they will listen differently. They consciously and subconsciously know that each month there is the opportunity to share their observations and ideas. The result is that they will discover more uncatered needs. They become more sensitive to the weak signals pointing to latent needs. It’s like when you have bought a new car of a certain type and color. From that moment, you see them everywhere. That’s the power of focus.

Here are 7 innovation-related focus questions that you could ask repeatedly:
- What have you learned during the last weeks?
- Have you discovered possibilities to improve?
- What has irritated you in the work processes?
- What is one thing that you will do differently the coming days?
- What was an accomplishment you were proud of?
- What were the moments you have shared your knowledge and
insights?
- Have you received new ideas for improvement or innovation?

Do you know more effective questions that stay exiting when you ask them repeatedly and that could bring opportunities for innovation at the individual, team or organizational level?

Jeff Gaspersz