Question designed by Henry Ryder from the Noun Project

Question designed by Henry Ryder from the Noun Project

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.

  • http://www.scoop.it/t/daily-clippings/p/4020479864/2014/04/29/the-psychology-of-right-and-wrong-questions The Psychology of Right (and Wrong) Questions |...

    […] Beware of ‘Why’ questions that create a story for you.  […]

  • Haig Panossian

    I definitely agree with the piece above, asking the right questions is crucial. Just a few days ago, I published a post on my own blog about when and how we need to dig deeper to better understand our potential customers or audiences. Anyone who found the piece above interesting should check out my blog:

    http://outsideinsightcomm.wordpress.com/2014/04/23/no-may-mean-yes-target-messages-to-what-people-really-believe-not-what-they-claim-to-believe/

  • JS

    ‘Why’ questions can be helpful for understanding the fundamental ‘raison d’etre’ of a any action. When combined with ‘how’ questions one can then gain a greater and practical understanding.

    At the WHY Code you can build a cognitive map within the context of ‘what’, ‘how’ and why’:

    http://whycode.com/

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