How Might We? Asking the Questions that Change Everything…

Robert F. Kennedy popularized the notion that dreaming of things that never were and asking “Why not?” could change the future. In the decades since his death, the business world has focused more on efficiency than on imagining a different world. But with innovation now recognized as a key corporate capability, the value of questioning has roared back to the forefront.

Well-known American business journalist Warren Berger is exploring the impact of questioning in a book and
multimedia project he describes as “an inquiry into the value of inquiry.” http://amorebeautifulquestion.com/ He’s interviewed
business and community leaders about the impact of asking questions, and spoken to me about our “How Might We…?” approach to helping organizations imagine new possibilities, products and services. http://blogs.hbr.org/cs/2012/09/the_secret_phrase_top_innovato.html

The topic has also received attention from Canada’s business press. Last fall, television business journalist Amanda Lang published The Power of Why, in which she explores how asking questions and encouraging curiosity makes people and companies more innovative and productive.

The return of enthusiasm for questioning can only be a good thing for a business world that typically relies too heavily on following the formula, reading the rule book and finding the one right answer. Well-formulated questions that encourage collaboration, dig out insight, and allow us to imagine what has never been, have the possibility of changing everything.

2 Comments

Filed under innovation

2 responses to “How Might We? Asking the Questions that Change Everything…

  1. Great post, Min. In my research I am finding a surge of interest in the power of good Questioning. In fact, people are now beginning to wonder if — in this age of info overload — we have too many “answers” and not enough smart questions. You are certainly doing your part to teach and share the art of asking powerful “How Might We” questions.

    • Thanks, Warren. It’s great to see the growing enthusiasm for questioning, and I’m certainly looking forward to your Fast Company article and delving into the research you are doing in this project.

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