Need a Big Idea? Ask Questions.

ideaBig ideas and significant breakthroughs come by asking questions.
According to Rich Warren courage determines the quality of your life and work.  It takes courage to question what you are doing and it is by asking questions new insights reveal themselves.  What kinds of questions does it take courage to ask?  He suggested eight.

Use these insights to systematically ask yourself and your team the kinds of questions that will transform the way you work.

  1. Termination. What do you need to stop?  You will never have the margins and the energy to innovate if you don’t first stop doing what is no longer effective.
  2. Collaboration. How do we do it faster, cheaper, or larger with a team?  How can we coordinate the resources in front of us to get things done?
  3. Combination. What can we mix to make something new – what can we combine to create a synthesis?
  4. Elimination. What part can we take out to make it simpler?  What barrier can we remove to give greater access?
  5. Reincarnation. What has died that we can bring back in a new form?
  6. Rejuvenation.  How can we change the purpose or motivation for what we are doing to recharge our energy and engagement?
  7. Illumination. How can we look at this in a new light?  What can we see by simply altering our perspective?
  8. Fascination. How can we make it more interesting or more attractive?

These are more challenging than they sound. Spend some time asking these questions about what you do – you just may discover a deeper insight into the purpose you really want to pursue.  Don’t stop however until you have asked all the questions.  Testing your insight with the full scope of these questions will help you avoid the pitfall of short-sighted enthusiasm and engage long-term transformation.