Questions are a powerful tool in the arsenal of the creative worker. On the Lateral Action blog, Aaron Morton examines how the quality of questions we ask influences our insights, and gives examples of questions to ask (and avoid):
There is a cognitive bias called confirmation bias that filters for information that coincides with our current belief system. This ensures we have a consistent perception of reality, but can also stunt our creativity by filtering out information that could allow us to take multiple perspectives on the same issue.
By asking “What is another way of looking at this?” you avoid falling into this trap and come up with new and innovative ideas.
Beware of ‘Why’ questions. ‘Why’ elicits a story, explanations of why something is true. If you ask why nothing is working out the way you want it to, you are likely to create a story, which may or may not be true. This is dangerous territory in making you feel bad. However don’t discount ‘why’ questions completely. They can open up an inquisitive nature needed for exploration.
If you find yourself creatively stuck — looking for inspiration or a solution to your work problems — consider the questions you’re asking yourself. The right questions can propel you forward, while poor questions can leave you running in a circle and ultimately exhausted.
Head over to Lateral Action to get Morton’s tips on which questions to ask and which to avoid.