Improving your question or problem statement probably has the most impact on your innovation efforts!
Broad questions lead to vague and unrealistic answers, while narrow questions exclude potential solutions. The most famous example is probably the bagage claim story as explained in the video below. Over the past year, I ran various online ideation campaign where we also saw this impact of improving the question.
The example I wanted to share today is about a supermarket that wanted to increase its revenues, and the initial plan was to ask employees about “How might we increase our revenues?” A classical example of an overly abstract question that won’t excite employees nor source relevant solutions.
After speaking with the Managing Director, it became clear that the admired revenue growth could be achieved through more frequent visits from their existing customer base. We also realized that all employees would be doing groceries and could answer as a customer. That made us rephrase the question into “What would convince you to do your daily grocery shopping at [brand]?”
This was engaging for all employees and could have a direct impact on them, which resulted in high engagement and hundreds of ideas!!! Eventually about a dozen ideas were selected that together were able to deliver the admired revenue growth!
Don’t turn your innovation questions into a maze in which your employees get lost. Also, don’t drop them in an open field without any directions.