How Brainstorming Questions, Not Ideas, Sparks Creativity

We have all experienced brainstorming sessions. They are a staple of the corporate world as companies attempt to be creative and come up with new ideas and solve identified problems. But recently there has been a backlash against this ubiquitous technique that so often doesn’t result in the great new idea that we are all looking for.

The author of this article puts forth the proposition that ‘question-storming’ – coming up with insightful questions about a specific subject – is often a more productive endeavor. The author makes the following points in support of ‘question-storming’:

  • Questions around an issue or problem can lead to deeper analysis and a better understanding of that problem–which, eventually, can yield smarter ideas on how to tackle it.
  • When participants are generating questions, they tend to dig into a problem and challenge assumptions.
  • The process gives people permission to ask fundamental questions that often don’t get asked like “why are we doing this in the first place?”.
  • Questioning exercises seem to have more across-the-board participation.
  • Questions are more “actionable”.

In short, coming up with a large number of questions, prioritizing them and identifying the top few questions to answer often results in better outcomes than trying to brainstorm ideas for new products or services.

The article is well worth reading to consider adding another method to your innovation toolkit.

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