Ask the right questions to get the right answers

CREATIVE/ INNOVATIVE Perspective. IN this column I continue with a series of articles which iden-tify how to explore different perspectives driving success related to something (the situation) that you want to decide, resolve, plan and implement. Today, I look at the perspective of creativity/innovation. Before you and your key people embark on any initiative to change or improve things, spend some time exploring people’s perceptions, understanding and commitment from the point of view of creativity-/innovation. Here is a list of questions that you and relevant others could consider. You don’t need to answer all questions – just those that resonate with you and your situation. Some questions will produce the same answer. Reason? Sometimes you can ask a question and get no answer. Rephrase the question and, bingo, you get an answer. Give this list to the relevant people and give them time to reflect on the questions, then discuss and explore all viewpoints. How could we use our intellectual and human capital to develop strategic advantage through innovation in products and services? How could we do this better in this situation? How have circumstances changed such that routine or traditional solutions won’t succeed? How could we be in danger of only applying routine or traditional solutions here? What could be new responses to new circumstances? What could be creative or innovative in relation to our focus? What could be different ideas and options? What are the possibilities beyond the routine, the traditional, and the obvious? In this situation, what would we ideally like to do? What would we ideally like to see happen? What could be the ‘dream’ solution to our focus? How are we exploring hypothetical situations that don’t currently exist? What could happen if …? How well do we use the question, ‘why not?’ instead of ‘why?’. Why do you like what we are trying to do in our focus? What could happen if we took a dozen or so randomly chosen and unc-onnected words from a dictionary and associated each word with the situation to see if that generates fresh ideas? What could happen if we took a picture unrelated to this sit-uation, recorded our impressions and then associated these words with this situation to see if this gen-erates any fresh ideas? How well are we brainstorming possibilities without initial evaluation, judgment or criticism? How well are we using ‘possibility thinking’ to find solutions to seemingly impossible sit-uations? What are some of the possibilities we could explore? Instead of looking at reasons why some thing won’t work, are we using the question, ‘What’s right about this?”How well are we discussing things outside our comfort zones? How well are we questioning the status quo? For example, what else could we discuss? Are we dealing with rock solid, immovable constraints or apparent constraints which, with crea-tive thought, might be eliminated or modified? For example? While realistically we cannot do some of the creative and innovative things, what could happen if we …? How are we separating fact from opinion? How are we drilling down to get the facts? How might our current ways of thinking about creativity and innovation be limiting our effectiveness or future success? What ways of thinking about creativity and innovation might serve us better? Daniel Kehoe created and developed the Super-Thinker ® – an outstanding and innovative tool for decision making, problem solving and plan-ning. He has worked as a management consultant / facilitator since 1979 in Australia and overseas. In that time he has worked with over 5,000 managers ranging from chief exec-utives to frontline managers. He has spent thousands of hours listening to and exploring the important perspectives and issues driving success. The list of organisations he has consulted to reads like a Who’s Who of Australian commerce and industry. Daniel is a Fellow of the Institute of Management Consultants and is the author of the best-selling You Lead, They’ll Follow book series, volumes 1, 2 and 3 published by McGraw Hill and sold worldwide. On-line See the Super-Thinker ® at Contact Daniel

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