Asking the Right Question

Long time back I had heard a story:

God came on earth and he met a family of husband, wife and son and granted each of them a wish that he would fulfill. They were fighting amongst themselves and Husband asked – Make my wife a donkey. It happened. Looking at the mother the son was distressed and he said please convert her back to my mother, and it happened. The wife said – do not give peace to my husband, and it happened. So despite 3 boons, they remained exactly where they were.

God, moved to the next house and here there was a young couple living with man’s old and blind mother. God told the man I can grant you one wish, ask whatever you want. Man wanted lots of money, his wife wanted a son and his mother wanted her eyes back. So the man said ‘ I want my mother too see her grandson in a golden cradle’ . In one go he asked for everything he wanted.

Moral of the story is that you get what you ask for, and this is as much relevant in the innovation projects. Dr Vinay Dabholkar in his blog post gives 5 ways of framing an innovation challenge , that can help you frame an innovation challenge for your organization. Though he gives 5 ways, I am sure there are many other ways as well, but this makes a good beginning till you learn the art of framing good questions to ask. The examples that he gives are very relevant because your questions must also be relevant to the context. I like his example of how the same problem can have different questions for different people in the organization.

Anuradha Goyal