For Innovation: Ask the Person

Innovation chalkboard_Missy SchmidtInnovation doesn’t have to be a mystery featuring secret words, cryptic corporate alchemy and magical thinking. It can be as simple as ATP: ‘ask the person’ doing the work.

Communication is vital in every aspect of our personal and business lives, for collaboration, alignment and creating value—so why not when it comes to innovation?

A recent post on the 15Five site, which covers employee engagement, lists “five questions to boost productivity and innovation at your company” that underline this idea.

Author David Mizne, says the “almighty” question is “arguably the most powerful business tool” around. And one that’s been around for millennia. Questions, he continues, “are deceptively simple…not only do they result in positive business outcomes, but questions can also be used to spark innovative thinking and boost productivity.”

The five questions Mizne outlines that managers and teams should ask are:

  1. When do you feel most productive at work?
  2. What should the company stop doing because it is counterproductive?
  3. Is there a project or task where you are interested in taking more ownership?
  4. Are you crystal clear on your role and what you should be working on? If not, what aspects aren’t clear?
  5. What would you change about our company/product if you had a magic wand?

You can see that those questions can spark a collaborative exchange of innovative ideas. I especially like No. 5 because by encouraging communication along those lines you’ll probably find innovative answers without the need for a magic wand.

What questions would you add to the list?

Image: Innovation chalkboard by Missy Schmidt via Flickr CC

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