The Creative Power of Questions: 5 Keys to Innovative Discoveries
In a world filled with endless possibilities, there is one tool that has the power to unlock our hidden potential and fuel groundbreaking discoveries: questions.
When I think about the creative power of questions, I remember Indira Gandhi’s quote. Now, Indira Gandhi was the first female Prime minister of India and at the time of this writing, she was the only female who ever handled that office.
Despite having similar names, she was not related to Mahatma Gandhi in any way. This lady said something worth contemplating when she said that “the power to question is the basis of all human progress.”
A lot of people want answers for which they have never asked a question. The fact however is that life only gives to man as much as he demands from it.
If you ask nothing from life, then life will give you nothing in return. If you ask for a penny in life, you only get a penny.
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1. What is the Source of Creativity, Innovation and Invention?
1. Asking the Right Questions
Until one man questions the validity of a popular belief that has become entrenched into the tradition and culture of institutions, societies, organizations and even nations, nobody would wake up from the state of slumber which conventional and traditional beliefs places on people.
The Catholic Church of the medieval period taught that people needed to pay money in order to secure the afterlife and avoid punishment for their wrongs.
Until Martin Luther King began to ask questions, nobody noticed the insanity in the practices of the Catholic bishops and pope. Many people are living ordinary lives today because they asked ordinary questions yesterday.
They are asking for an increase in their minimum wage when they ought to be asking for ways they can make their offices, enterprises and nation more productive.
They are asking for a means of livelihood when they ought to have asked for the solution to the vast needs in their nation.
The truth is that no amount of minimum wage was designed to be enough especially in underdeveloped countries.
2. Embracing Curiosity
Every inventor and discoverer embarks on their quest armed with transformative questions that challenge existing norms.
The quality of our lives is a direct reflection of the questions we’ve posed to ourselves and the world. Asking the right questions can be life-transforming, while the wrong ones may lead us astray.
Embracing curiosity and seeking groundbreaking answers can lead us to success and fulfillment.
Thomas Edison has 1,093 patents in America alone to his name because he asked more than a thousand questions and would not stop until he got an answer.
On one of his innovations, he kept asking questions repeatedly for more than 1,000 times until he got the answer that made the light bulb discovery possible.
Today we still benefit from the solutions that were contained in an answer that came from asking one question repeatedly. This shows you the creative power of questions!
He kept demanding an answer to his questions for more than a thousand times until the answer that contained the solution which we all benefit from today was given to him.
Answers contain solutions that come from questions. The quality of any answer is directly determined by the quality of the questions that are asked.
It is no longer news therefore, that every discoverer and inventor begins his quest with a transformative question that challenges the status quo.
No matter how wonderful things are right now in your life, your profession, organization, corporation or nation today, it can be better.
It will only get better however, if you or someone daring enough would question the present situation of things whether these things are working fine already or not.
3. Thoughtful Inquiries
When Jeff Bezos retired from his well paid job, he was asking for something greater than a paycheck. He was asking for a better means to get books to readers.
He never knew the answer to that question would produce a multidimensional solution provider in the world.
Today, Jeff Bezos is the richest man in the world because he founded Amazon, the answer to the questions that caused him to resign from a high paying job.
Amazon today does not only sell books to its customers as it did when it earlier began. It now sells everything to everyone.
It even provides secure cloud services to governments of nations. It also provides scores of other web based services to merchants all over the world.
All this came as a result of groundbreaking questions that produced groundbreaking solutions to problems clothed in their answers.
Great questions are clearly the quickest and surest paths to great answers and sometimes questions are more important than answers.
How do you intend to leverage the creative power of questions in your own journey today?
4. Asking Questions that shape your life
Too often, untapped wisdom and creativity surround us, waiting to be unlocked. Learning from top performers and seeking their insights through intelligent questions can propel us towards success.
In organizations, encouraging a culture of asking and sharing questions can foster innovation and growth. Brian Tracy made an observation when on a speaking engagement with some companies. He discovered that most times, people knew who the top salesmen in an organization were but none of the other salesmen ever went to ask the salesmen questions on how they got to the top.
As long as they never asked questions they never made it to the top.
There is so much untapped wisdom and creativity around you waiting to be unlocked by you asking an intelligent question.
This was what Sir Francis Bacon, an influential English philosopher that impacted the scientific revolution meant, when he said “A prudent question is one-half of wisdom.” The Socratic method of teaching is about one of the oldest teaching methods but yet is reported to be the most powerful teaching tactic today.
This is because it fosters critical thinking by focusing on giving students guiding questions, rather than answers.
The Socratic teaching method stimulates the mind to engage in critical “beyond-the-box” thinking by inquiring and continually probing into a subject matter with questions.
This method of teaching through questions which is more than 2,400 years old is still embraced by some of the most renowned educators today. Even the scientific method also uses the method of asking questions to bring about a whole process of discovery.
It begins by asking questions that in turn stimulate research with which a hypothesis can be developed, followed by an experiment before a conclusive reasoning can be inferred.
This is because questions engage our creative and critical thinking capacity and in turn unlocks our hidden genius.
No wonder a famous French philosopher and writer said “judge a man by his questions rather than his answers”. The quality of questions you ask would go a long way to shape your life.
5. Questioning the Status Quo: A Positive Approach
Challenging the status quo doesn’t always imply criticism; it can lead to fresh and innovative solutions.
By questioning established norms in a positive light, we can ignite brainstorming sessions that bring about transformative change.
In a world where knowing the right answers is often emphasized, it’s essential to recognize the value of asking the right questions. The amazing thing about life is that it gives you what you demand from it.
The quality of a man’s life is a direct reflection of the quality of what he has demanded for. In other words, the kind of life you are living now is a product of the kind of requests you have made.
To further break it down, the total outcome of your life today is the sum total of the questions you have asked or not asked. If you ask the wrong question from life, you would get the wrong answer.
On the other hand, if you ask the right question, you would get the right answer. This is the creative power of questions!
Every ground breaking discovery came because someone was curious enough to engage in groundbreaking search, looking for groundbreaking answers to groundbreaking questions.
If you would dare to ask the more important questions possible, the answer you would get can be life transforming. Questions actually hold the keys to our lives.
The kind of questions we expose ourselves to determine how we are going to think and what we are going to do about what we think.
This may sound very strange because all through our lives we have been programmed by educational institutions that the intelligent ones are those who know the answers.
That is why many times those who come out tops in schools by memorizing the already thought out answers, end up becoming employees to those who had genuine unanswered questions to which they found a peculiar solution and answer to.
Conclusion: Embrace the Creative Power of Questions
As we navigate through life, let’s remember the power that lies in the simple act of asking questions.
From historical figures like Indira Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr. to modern-day entrepreneurs like Jeff Bezos, the key to transformation has always been rooted in curiosity and intelligent inquiry.
So, dare to ask the important questions, seek answers that can change your life, and unlock the limitless potential within you.
After all, the right question might just be the spark that sets the world ablaze with new possibilities.
Now over to you, are you ready to unleash the creative power of questions?
This blog post is an excerpt from one of my books titled: Unlocking Your Kingdom Creativity.
If you found this valuable, or you have a question or different perspective, please leave a comment below and I will be happy to engage with you in the comment section.