Have we lost the ability to ask Questions?


While Adelaide is in the middle of a major storm, the common response via the media is to ask questions which typically direct blame towards either an individual (such as a politician) or a process, regulation or organisation. However, what we really need are the optimistic solution finders and innovators. Across a multitude of industries, topics, causes and issues.

But, where has all the creativity gone?

Creativity is well known to lead to innovation.

You could say there is a lot “happening” but are we really asking the right questions to get things happening?

It’s a question asked frequently by my University of South Australia colleague, Ron Corso. He teaches (and I used to support the process) a creative thinking or idea generation approach which first examines the questions we need to ask.

You can read all about it as it’s part of the online tool which was developed (yes, I was on the project): http://www.creativity-project.net/ingentool.php and results are here: http://www.creativity-project.net/testing.php#igmd

It says, “In everything we do we should first consider the aspects or bigger picture around the issue, task or need.

On reflection, this is great if you understand what the bigger picture is. What if it’s a little picture or window of opportunity or a brand new experience you’ve never encountered before – like the sudden impact of becoming a carer and being exposed to an industry you’ve never been privy to before? Where do you start to understand or grapple with the right questions to ask?

“Judge a man by his questions rather than by his answers.” ― Voltaire

Questions. They come in a variety of forms.

Generally people want a factual answer to a question – which means they ask the right question to receive the right type of information.

However, as per the scenario above “what question do we ask, when we don’t know the question to ask, because we don’t know what we don’t know?

The question we ask, is for the opinion.

It would be the right time to contact the subject expert and ask for their opinion and then investigate (interrogate) them. That said, trouble may strike and you hit a brick wall when you need to dig deeper… and dig deeper into what? We’ve all used the “let me have a blonde moment and ask a few what ifs” or something along those lines. If the questions remain open framed – a flow may emerge which allows for exploration. The there are the emotional block scenarios to break through – asking for someone else’s opinion is not an easy task for many.

But, you guessed it, if you do, exploration leads to creativity which leads to innovation and solutions!

That’s got us thinking!

There are some great resources to read about questions, like this one: http://faculty.gvc.edu/ssnyder/121/Goodquestions.html

Great. But what happens in a highly stressful moment, with the impact of becoming a sudden carer baring down on you, or a raging storm brewing around you?

You would be forgiven for not crafting the perfect question.

It’s at these times, a tool kit of ideas or concepts would benefit us all.

Or perhaps access to a caring environment where we could pose them openly for discussion without criticism?

Quote from the article Good Questions, “Learning often (though not always) takes place in a social setting. After all, you could take a semester’s worth of textbooks into your bedroom and read for fifteen weeks, but you would probably learn more effectively by discussing what you have read with others. Indeed, the opportunity to share perspectives, to piece together an understanding with other people, and to test interpretations in debate almost always amplifies the effectiveness of learning. When the woman sitting next to you asks a question you hadn’t considered, you benefit. When the example you use to back up a point illuminates an issue for people struggling with it across the room, they benefit. Consequently, a part of your success in class depends on those around you, and a part of theirs on you.”

It’s why we started Unearthing Ideas; to examine the use of social media learning in a creative classroom.

Paper; https://charlierobinson.wordpress.com/social-communications-and-learning/paper-enhancing-creative-thinking-abilities-through-the-use-of-social-media/

So, that happened.

Where should we go now?

Let’s all have a CAN DO ATTITUDE.

Unearthing Ideas challenges everyone to engage in the exploration and creation of ideas on a number of issues and topics that people can respond to, share and evolve.

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One Comment

  1. When my workplace was ruled by politics and questions were unwelcome, I was greatly relieved to find a bunch of lecturers and postgrads in Public Health full of more questions, speculations and answers. Their diverse, enthusiastic and multicultural experiences felt like being in an ideas and innovation hothouse. Not only did we learn to ask the right questions but also we became happy among a bunch of similar souls with compatible ambitions.

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