Ask a Better Question

The first creative thinking power tool I'd like to cover is a concept that I call Ask a Better Question. Let me introduce you to it through an exercise I do with the groups that I lead in my workshops.

Look at this picture. This is a picture of me. I want you to answer this question in the blank spaces below. What am I wearing? (Come on, play along. You'll learn something, I promise.)

You probably wrote something like "dark suit, neutral shirt, dark tie," maybe "black shoes." You knew all the answers. You were "in the known." There was little place for your imagination. What you don't know, however, is what kind of socks I am wearing. In the blanks below, I want you to venture some guesses about what kind of socks I might be wearing.

Now I want to ask a more specific question. What might the design be on my socks? If you haven't already done so, write down some designs that come to mind. If you already wrote down some designs, write down a few more in the following blanks.

Next question: What's an unusual design that you wouldn't expect to find on socks?

Last question: What's a highly unusual design that you would never, ever expect to find on socks? Push it out. Come on, write down that crazy thought that crossed your mind. It's all right, I won't tell anyone.

What do you see?

Something you've seen hundreds of times before. Something so common and ordinary that there's almost nothing to look at. Well, turn this page upside down and see what you see. Then go to the next spread to see how a fresh perspective can sometimes make all the difference in the world.

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