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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