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Questioning for Clarity

Lesson 28 from: Jumpstart Innovation with Adventurous Thinking

Sally Dominguez

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Lesson Info

28. Questioning for Clarity

Next Lesson: ReThinking Lens

Lesson Info

Questioning for Clarity

The whole system, this whole mindset of adventurous thinking is about prompting you to question. It's about prompting curiosity, which, of course, is questioning. I mean, as I read I can't remember who said this, but thousands saw the apple fall, but only Newton asked why. So the importance of asking questions and the importance of asking clear questions. So one way of asking questions is simply to use these lenses to provoke people into that state of well, hang on, I'm looking at this, but what if that. That's the key to this whole mindset is provoking questions. And this one, I like. This concept that, if we substantially and thoughtfully frame our question, we actually are on our way to solving it. You know, that idea that, if we are starting a new project, we have a team and we're starting a project and we spend 25 minutes, five minutes on each lens, just addressing whatever it is we're planning to do, that we're planning to do in the same way that's always worked before. But we gi...

ve ourselves 25 minutes as a group or individually, where we throw these questions from these varied perspectives at it to see if, in fact, we've missed something that could really shift the game forward. That's the key to this idea of thoughtful questions. I don't think we should judge anybody, (mumbles) questions are much more fun than answers I find, I think because the problem is that does our society value the questions more than the answers, if we're results driven we've got to work out a way to actually make the questioning a valued part of what we do. We know that it adds value and purpose and helps us understand meaning we need to somehow modify that. So Deborah Meier is an educational guru. Amazing woman who was looking at education in New York in particular and came up with these five questions connective inquiry and most of them actually relate to the adventurous thinking lenses, which is sort of cool. What evidence do we have clearly is still working (mumbles) and that's fact finding and that's classic design thinking, I go out and observe, that's evidence. Look at what people are doing, what people are thinking, write down the present reality, everything in the present reality speaks to the evidence, so of course evidence collection is a really useful thing. Asking what do we have is a pretty quick question because basically you'll fulfill that by going out and finding out what you have. But you know tick that box. But then how might this look from another view point is the essence of adventurous thinking and that mindset of I know what I think right now but that's just one point of view that's my expertise that's my what neural pathway, but how else can we observe this thing? Let's push ourselves into bearable discomfort to try and look at the viewpoints that don't come naturally to us. Is there a connection you can ask that or you can feel it. 'Cause if you run through those five lenses or even just one lens and then think about what you know versus what you just thought up, you'll start making the connections. So again it's like that idea of innovation doesn't come to you, creativity and imagination doesn't come to you, you go out and beat it down with a club, we have to make this system, we could ask is there a connection and sit back and wait, or we can actually investigate and dig for a connection using these lenses as a starting point. What if it were different is sideways, it's rethinking, it's (mumbles) completely, that's a really important question to ask yourself on anything is I'm doing this the same way I always have, perhaps you've been told this is the way we always do it, why? Like why, really? And then the relevance, things are moving really really quickly who is it relevant to? Like relevance is personal, relevance could be to a business could be the core value of something, we're going to talk about core value and these questions are super useful as a starting point, but I find on their own they're still like that blank piece of paper. What is the relevance and then sit there and wait for everybody to come up with something or we give them the graph paper, we give them five lenses or one lens and push through that and say at the end of this five minutes I want to know relevance, what I'm looking for. But you can use your expert brain to sort through the stuff you generated and pull out the relevant bits at the end, give yourself five minutes (mumbles) any of those lenses and you'll get more relevance. This is a handy little set of questions that some progressive schools use, I still find that they're sitting back and waiting for the answer rather than actually actively jumping out into the wilderness and hunting down the next set of questions and answers, but I feel if you use these in conjunction with the lenses, they can be super powerful. And finally this observation, this goes back to my Michelangelo quote, we aim too low to succeed. We set ourselves up so that results are what we want and the results are generally what we already know. We're basically looking for stuff that we can verify with our present reality, instead of looking for stuff that could be possible in five years even, which is kind of ironic because if you look at the way that the speed things are progressing right now, the development of technology, the development of what is possible, if you just for instance do like I do and occasionally go on the (mumbles) website (mumbles) the USA's Defense Force Pointy End Development stuff off all things robotic and crazy, they have a vertical lift up Hummer that's a flying car. They have a personal jet pack that can fly a person, that's been around like eight years. And they have Alpha Dog which is this incredible dog robot by (mumbles) which can carry a body on its back, it can scale stairs, it can run in snow and skate around on ice, this thing is incredible. So in terms of development we're realizing stuff like nothing else before and yet, we so often just settle for what we know. So, this is to just prompt you to look for the stuff we don't know, look hard for the stuff we don't know and push everyone around you to be looking for the possible. Which means that we need to allow time for decent questioning and also appreciate, let people know that we're appreciating their ability to question and the fact that they have open ended questions without answers, because all of that is fueling the creative side of our brain, all of that is leading us to those unexpected connections that will give us the next big step. Or you can just grab the five lenses in 25 minutes and jam really hard, you'll be exhausted by the end. The interesting thing about the five lenses is that they're always exhausting, I find it (mumbles) I go oh I'm going to come up with a new example, I just pushed through that but oh exhausting, but that's good right 'cause that's bearable discomfort. That actually means you're never going to make (mumbles) your plasticity is real (laughs).

Class Materials

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Creativity Quiz Worksheet
Rebound Worksheet
Core Value Worksheet
Innovation Quadrant Worksheet
Which Lens Worksheet
Backcasting Worksheet

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Ratings and Reviews

Ivana Vucinic

This class is truly AMAZING! It is really unique and it got me thinking in new and innovative ways. Very much out of the box thinking! Makes you become courageous, Well done, Sally!!!

Sukey Dominguez

Jumpstart Innovation with Adventurous Thinking exceeded my expectations! Sally brought practical tools that, "lenses" to flip every situation inside out and find the possibilities in every situation. As one who works to lead teams, healthcare providers facing incredible demands to achieve results in population health / ultimately global health and the wellness of business operations, I'm thrilled to have found this course. Design is one thing, taking risk is another. I'm inspired by Sally because she drives energy to see what CAN be in the future. This is a unique class and I look forward to her next offering.

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