Did you know that a typical 5 year old asks 65 questions a day while a typical 40 something adult asks only about 6 questions day? It seems that the older we get the less questions we ask and therefore the less creative we become. We become so rigid on our beliefs of how things are that we fail to imagine any other possibilities.
Questions have been the enablers of innovation for centuries. Questions stimulate the brain!
Curiosity is a habit of innovative people, looking at things from different perspectives and questioning existing norms and methods help open your mind to find new solutions to problems.
- Why is it done this way?
- Who started it and why?
- What alternatives did they consider, and what idea did their new idea replace?
- What are my, or my friend’s, biggest complaints with how we do this thing, and what changes might make it better?
- How is this done in other towns, countries, cultures, or eras of time?
- What different assumptions did they make or constraints did they have?
- How can I apply any of the above to what I do?
As Scott Berkun notes:
Many great innovators asked better questions than everyone else, and that’s part of why they were successful. It wasn’t genius, whatever that means, special top-secret brain exercises they did every morning, or even how much money they had. It was through the dedicated pursuit of answers to simple questions that they found ideas already in the world that might be of use.
Practice makes perfect!
“I keep six honest serving-men. They taught me all I knew; their names are What and Why and When and How and Where and Who.” – Rudyard Kipling