Innovation, Curiosity, and Questioning

A Questioning Mindset

First, leaders must get over themselves. Ego and self-consciousness are often what holds back an executive or manager from asking questions. Leaders fear asking questions of direct reports and employees down-the-line will make them look dumb, incompetent, or unable to make decisions. Many executives harbor the false belief that they should know all the answers and talk more than listen.

A Curious Mindset

Innovation as a Competency

Organizations can use questioning and curiosity as skills to empower innovation. Innovation is more than just a great idea and requires customer empathy and technical finesse in addressing market challenges. Innovation requires understanding technology as well as financial models in providing product and service solutions for customer needs.

Innovation, Curiosity, and Questioning

Consider a technology company that asks its customers about their interest in mobile fitness tracking apps. With open-ended questions, the design team can learn that people want to track heart rate as well as steps. They may also learn, through root cause questioning, such as the 5 Whys, that users want to know their fitness progress at a touch of a button. The NPD team can design these features and functionalities quickly and test prototypes.

Next Steps

How can you take your innovation performance to the next level? First, senior executives must demonstrate vulnerability to the organization, building trust and understanding, both internally and externally. Next, innovation teams must approach problems from the perspective of the customer, asking questions and engaging creative curiosity in developing solutions. Finally, organization must strive for a culture that supports open questioning and inherent curiosity.

--

--

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Teresa Kowal

Teresa Kowal

I tackle life with an infusion of rigor, zeal, and faith. My passion is innovation and helping others improve their new product development ecosystems.