I read a terrific article by Stephanie Vozza in Fast Company this week. The article focuses on the notion of asking great questions. She argues that the best leaders ask good questions so as to enhance their learning and engage more effectively in meetings. Toward the end of her article, Vozza highlights a particular technique proposed by Hal Gregersen of the MIT Leadership Center. He proposes that teams should employ "question-storming" sessions from time to time, particularly when they have reached an impasse on a tough issue. Vozza explains:
Have your team generate at least 50 questions about the problem. At about question 25, Gregersen says it will stall. "I have watched this a hundred times around the world," he says. "People say: 'I don't have any more questions, I am stuck.' Keep going, because it's that pass forward that can sometimes give you some of the greatest questions." Question storming a long series of questions gets you closer to the right questions that will give you the right answer, says Gregersen. "And that's where question storming complements traditional brainstorming," he says.
I like the notion. In fact, I think question-storming might be useful at the front end of some challenging problem-solving processes, rather than simply as a tool for when a team is deadlocked. Generating a list of thoughtful questions can insure that a team looks at a problem from multiple frames, and it can help inform the research that needs to be done to generate key insights about an issue.