The Beautiful Question: ‘Because, why?’
If you’ve raised or spent significant time around little kids, you’ve learned to dread that question. It’s the one that leads to the all-to-familiar, ping-pong volley of question and answer, spiraling toward the inevitable, forehead-slapping, “Ugh, because I say so!”
But if you’re looking for the archetype of a successful innovator, who better than the 4-year-old who has yet to be anchored to experiences, worldviews, biases, and entrenched patterns of thought? Who better than the child for whom everything is new and the possibilities are endless? Who better than the kid who has way more questions than answers?
Good questions are not just the sparks that light the fire of innovation; they are the fuel that keeps it burning. It’s no accident that the word itself implies a “quest” rather than a destination. Assertions and declarations, tend to serve as an intellectual cul-de-sac, while questions lure us to go deeper, and in the direction of possibilities waiting to be discovered.
So, as leaders who want to inspire our followers, asking good questions is not just important, it is of the essence.
But, what makes a good question? Warren Berger has devoted his life to studying the power of inquiry in driving innovation. In his book, A More Beautiful Question, he describes the beautiful question as one that will serve as a catalyst to bring about change – a question that is both ambitious and actionable, and which begins to fundamentally shift the way we think about something.
1. The modern-day Olympic Games were inspired by the question, “What if countries competed on the playing field…
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