Kickstart Creativity in your Team with this 1 simple Brain Jolt
by Linda Naiman
Give your team a brain jolt to kickstart creativity, by asking them to question-storm 50 questions in 15 minutes about your topic. It’s a jolt if people are not used to asking a lot of questions.
Why should you spend time question-storming? Peter Drucker renowned management guru, nailed it when he said,
The most common source of management mistakes is not the failure to find the right answers. It is the failure to ask the right questions… Nothing is more dangerous in business than the right answer to the wrong question.
Try the Question Formulation Technique (QFT) from the Right Question Institute*
- Design a Question Focus- Pick a problem or challenge that is important to you. It should be clear and stimulate new lines of thinking.
- It should not be a question.
- Establish rules – and a time limit (5-15 minutes):
– Ask as many questions as possible.
– Do not stop to answer, judge, or to discuss the questions.
– Write down every question exactly as it is stated.
- Produce Questions – Use your Question Focus to formulate as many questions as you can. Aim for 50 questions in 15 minutes to give your team a brain jolt.
- Improve Questions – Once you have a list of questions, the next step is to try to improve them. For example change binary yes/no questions into open ended ones.
- Sort your questions into common themes and prioritize them: Choose 3-4 questions which have the most potential.
- Take action – Decide what you need to do next to generate creative solutions.
- Reflect on what you have learned as a group and how you will integrate your insights into your work
Note: If you are working with a group of 10 or more people, break down the group into smaller teams of 4-8 people.
My experience using QFT with a tech team
On reflection the team said question-storming:
- Breaks the habit of answering questions
- Creates a brain flow
- Re-framed the way I think about problems
- Uncovers assumptions
- Helped clarify my thinking about the problem
As a result they had much better questions for idea generation, and the process helped them generate specific actionable ideas that could really help grow their IT business.
“The important thing is not to stop questioning.” -Albert Einstein
* This process is adapted from The Right Question Institute with permission under their (cc) creative commons licence. Question-storming 50 questions was inspired by Hal Gregersen, co-author of the Innovators DNA.