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.