If you’ve ever lived with a three year old, you are familiar with this question. When you are three, the world is new and everything is a mystery (and nothing is sacred). So, when you ask a question of a grown up and you get an answer that isn’t fulfilling, you ask why again . . . and again.
“Daddy, can we go out and play?”
“No honey, we can’t right not.”
“Because it’s raining outside?”
“Why is it raining?”
“Because the clouds were too full of water.”
“Because . . . “
You know the drill. As the grown up in this conversation, being on the other side of this inquisition can be exhausting. And, we tend to get annoyed. Being asked why over and over makes us think. It makes us search for answers.
As our organizations struggle to keep up with the pace of change in the world around us, and innovation becomes a necessity of survival, it might be wise to unleash our inner three-year-old.
Innovation is fueled by “Why?”
- Why did that approach work?
- Why didn’t that approach work?
- Why do customers buy our stuff?
- Why aren’t customers buying our stuff?
- Why aren’t we working our plan?
- Why aren’t our employees fired up about working here?
And, perhaps the most important innovation question of them all: “Why not?”
To stimulate innovation and change within your team or organization, start by encouraging your staff to act like three-year-olds (at least in one way) and encourage them to ask why early and often.