Combat Status Quo with These 10 Disruptive Questions

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By Lisa Bodell for BizLibrary

Uber, AirBnB, and Netflix didn’t come to market because their creators asked status quo questions. They didn’t happen because somebody began a meeting with “Who has an idea for improving our industry?” or “How are we going to increase sales next year?” The aforementioned innovations exist because uncomfortable questions without easy answers were asked.

Through years of working with the world’s leading companies, I’ve witnessed a direct relationship between provocative inquiry and innovation. Teams that ask the hard questions prevent early conclusions: the simple act of inquiry provokes new thinking and has the power to challenge long-held assumptions that create real change.

So what do disruptive questions look and sound like? They usually begin with “how,” “which,” “why” or “if” and are specific without limiting imagination. They focus on generating solutions rather than begging long-winded explanations or placing blame, as close-ended questions always do. They awaken the mind rather than put it to sleep.

To illustrate, a provocative version of “Who has an idea for improving our product/service?” would be “If we hosted a forum called ‘How Our Products & Services Suck,’ what topics would be on the main stage?” An equally effective version is “Which two things could our competitors do to render our product/services irrelevant?”

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