Question: How many Creative Directors does it take to screw in a light bulb?
Answer: Does it have to be a light bulb?
This one’s a joke of course, but once you ask the right question, you’re well on your way to finding the answer. Different answers open our eyes to more different answers, and that may lead us somewhere useful.
Innovation is the quest for new answers to solve problems. Whether you’re a Creative or an Engineer, asking the right questions is critical to a job well done. In fact, one of the best tools in your chest is your ability to ask questions. The more ideas you can generate to test, the better chance you have at finding a good solution.
A very quick way to increase your innovative output is to invert the problem. For example: If you’re trying to save money on heating, ask what would waste it quicker. If you’re trying to do something faster, ask what could make it slower. If you’re trying to boost efficiency in a process, look at what you can do to make it slower. This exercise can give you more points of attack for a problem. You may not get the answer directly from the question, but you will have a very strong opportunity to look at the problem from a different perspective. And that is one of the conditions necessary for innovation to occur.