You Need to Have a Great Question!

I heard Tammy Erickson speak yesterday on employee engagement, innovation and collaboration. “People rarely innovate because you tell them to innovate,” she said. Rather, you need to have a great question. That is the leader’s job.”

Week before last I presented a workshop in Portugal on the Politics of Creativity at the International Congress of Creativity and Innovation 2008, Portuguese-Spanish Environment
Feedback indicated that the “question game” I invited participants to play mid-way through the workshop was a highlight for them. The thing is, I had not planned to do that. It was more or less a spontaneous decision to make the three hour workshop more interactive. Ironically, now that I think about it, I have attended many many lectures, presentations, and workshops on creativity and innovation that invite little or no inquiry from the participants.

On this first post-election day in the U.S. I am eager and curious to watch whether or how President-elect Obama poses powerful questions for us, as opposed to providing quick answers for some difficult, deep issues we face as a nation.

Thanks, Tammy, for verifying once again, the power of questions!