Guest Blog by Makis Levis
(If you missed his last guest post you can view it here: https://eseedling.com/to-come-up-with-new-ideas-you-need-to-start-paying-attention/)
We’ve seen that if you want to come up with new ideas, you need to start paying attention. So, you need to slow down and start noticing what’s happening around you. I’ve came up with an activity which I play with my sons when we go to restaurants. For 3 minutes we all focus on our surroundings, we count the number of chairs, tables, waitresses, families with children, number of children, number of orders delivered, anything goes. At the end of the 3 minutes, we start asking questions to each other hoping that the others haven’t noticed what we noticed. Another good thing that comes out of this game is that we don’t disturb that much the other people in the restaurant. You can try it and share your experience.
Is paying attention the only factor that one needs to come up with new ideas? No! The next equally important step is to be able to ask the right questions. One of my favorite reads of the past six months is Warren Berger’s A More Beautiful Question: The Power of Inquiry to Spark Breakthrough Ideas.
In that book I came across a powerful equation:
Questioning + Action = Innovation
The ability to ask the right questions is something that one can learn even from a very young age. There is a technique on how to teach children/students ask their own questions and it’s called Question Formulating Technique (QFT). The QFT is an evidence-based strategy developed by the Right Question Institute that teaches all students how to ask questions about primary sources. You can learn more about QFT here.
There is a paradox. Questioning is a starting point for innovation, but businesses don’t seem to embrace it. Employees, especially new ones, are afraid to ask the right questions. Even at the interview phase we seem to hesitate to ask questions. Why is that?
There is a famous Einstein quote saying, “If I had an hour to solve a problem and my life depended on the solution, I would spend the first 55 minutes determining the proper question to ask… for once I know the proper question, I could solve the problem in less than five minutes.”
So, if Einstein believes that questioning is important, why aren’t we learning how to ask the right questions?
If you want to become an entrepreneur, then you need to master those two skills. Noticing, paying attention to your surroundings since you cannot solve a problem that you haven’t noticed that it is one, and being able to ask the right questions. The good news is that you can learn both, so theoretically everyone can tackle a longstanding problem that has affected one’s community, or family.
On which problem are you going to put your energy and efforts? What have you noticed? What’s your solution? What’s your next steps?
Thank you to Makis Levis – first principles thinker, for this awesome guest post!
You can connect with Makis on LinkedIN at: https://www.linkedin.com/in/makislevis
If you want to learn more about how you can utilize entrepreneurship education to empower youth to help solve the problems we are all facing; check out the proven eseedling youth entrepreneurship curriculum at: https://eseedling.com/youth-entrepreneur-curriculum/