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Surprising Science

Innovation Begins by Asking the Right Questions

As we’ve reported here previously at Big Think, asking the right questions can be powerful. As leadership expert Daniel Pink explained in our video interview, managers and executives must know which questions to ask if they want to influence others. So put aside the grand speeches, and listen to others to learn what questions need to be asked. This practice is also the key to innovation, journalist Warren Berger, the author of A More Beautiful Question, explains.

“…If you look at a lot of the innovations and breakthroughs today and you trace them back, as I did in my research, to their origin, a lot of times what you find at the root of it all is a great question; a beautiful question of someone asking why isn’t someone doing this or what if someone tried to do that? So I found that questions are often at the root of innovation.” 

In the below interview, Berger points to the lessons we can learn from children. There’s a reason why children ask so many questions: they’re learning to see the world in new ways. If you want to create fresh thinking and breakthroughs, learn to see the world through the eyes of a child by asking questions. Ask away! Take pride in the things that you do not know. This, of course, is counterintuitive in the high-pressured world of business where executives are expected to have all of the answers.

But as Berger explains in this clip from our interview, asking the right questions is at the heart of innovation:

Image credit: Shutterstock


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