31 Questions that Lead to Innovation

Our resident innovation guru Christian Rangen is always going on about how important it is to ask the right questions.

His favorite thing to do whenever we sit down for a meeting, is to ask provocative questions.

While they weren’t the easiest questions to answer, they helped re-frame the way we thought and pushed us to see things from a different perspective.

Questions are incredibly powerful.

Think about it, asking questions led to the world’s greatest discoveries and inventions:

“Why did the apple fall from the tree?”
– Isaac Newton

“What would the world look like if I rode on a beam of light?”
– Albert Einstein

Opportunities to innovate are around us every minute of the day. The first important question is — are we even looking out for them?

Here are 30 questions to uncover the innovation opportunities you might not have seen before:


Capitalizing on Problems

  • What other problems do our customers face that aren’t getting solved right now?
  • Can we solve these problems for them?
  • What problems do we currently have that we could turn into an opportunity?
  • Why are our current unhappy customers unhappy?

Outperforming the Competition

  • Where is the market leader weakest?
  • What can we do to be better than that?
  • If there were a new competitor in our industry, what would they do to be different?
  • Who are our unlikely competitors in the future?

Perfecting the Processes

  • Which parts of our process flow would we like to eliminate?
  • Why are we doing this process in the first place?
  • What if we did this backwards?
  • Can we remove the constraints when managing our workforce?
  • If we had a magic wand, what would we change about our product / service / process?
  • What can we do an hour a day to make our business better in 5 years?

Prepping for Unexpected Surprises

  • What would happen if someone started giving our service / product for free?
  • How can we start giving our product for free and still make money?
  • What new legislation could put our business in danger?
  • What new technology could make our product obsolete?
  • What kind of business model could kill our business?

Thinking Beyond Today

  • What other markets could we sell our products / services in?
  • How should we go about selling our products / services in other markets?
  • How can we tweak our current product / service to appeal to a new market?
  • How can we make $xxx,xxx (insert ambitious sum) an hour?
  • Could we turn our services into products / products into services?
  • Could we start selling our internal resources as a service or product?
  • How can we seize the white space of unexplored markets and customers?
  • How can we innovate our management and increase the effect of our leaders?
  • Can we change our cost structure?
  • How can we double our revenue streams without adding cost?
  • Are we looking far enough ahead to redesign the competitive field?
  • Are there new ways to use the technology and capabilities that we currently have?
  • What would Elon Musk, Mark Zuckerberg, Jeff Bezos or a visionary leader we look up to do?

We could come up with 100 more questions, but we’d like to hear yours! Leave them in the comments section below.

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  1. […] have a meeting coming up and you want to know how to inject it with more innovative possibilities, this article lists questions that are open-ended and get people thinking. Breaking questions into important […]

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