Corporate Culture

Corporate Culture: Culture for Innovation

5 Strategies for Creating a Culture of Questioning


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Vadim Kotelnikov

By: Vadim Kotelnikov

Inventor and Founder

Ten3 Business e-Coach


InsBeCo,   Success360,


"The first people had questions, and they were free.  The second people had answers, and they became enslaved."
~ The Earth Wisdom Teachings

Create a Culture of Questioning

Questions are critical to innovation. Questions make you think about new ways of doing things. Exploration of possibilities, discoveries, innovation, and progress start with challenging assumptions, asking searching “Why?” and “What if?” questions, and plying “What if” scenarios.

Innovation-friendly Organization

How can you create a culture of questioning? Lead by example start with yourself. Ask lots of questions. Don’t question competence – ask open-ended searching questions instead.

Five Strategies for Creating a Culture of Questioning

  1. Be a Model: Lead by example; constantly search for new opportunities; ask lots of “Why?” and “What if?” questions.

  2. Improve: Establish a mentality that everything can and should be improved and encourage people to ask “How?” questions.

  3. Do differently: Encourage people to challenge assumptions; run “The Best Question” contests.

  4. Reassess: Assign teams to reassess past decisions periodically: Are they still effective in a changing environment?

  5. Educate: Train people to ask effective open-ended searching questions; promote coaching by questioning.


 Case in Point  Google

"We run the company by questions, not by answers," says Eric Schmidt, the CEO of Google.

"So in the strategy process we've so far formulated 30 questions that we have to answer. I'll give you an example: we have a lot of cash. What should we do with the cash? Another example of a question that we are debating right now is: we have this amazing product called AdSense for content, where we're monetizing the Web. If you're a publisher we run our ads against your content. It's phenomenal. How do we make that product produce better content, not just lots of content? An interesting question. How we do make sure that in the area of video, that high-quality video is also monetized? What are the next big breakthroughs in search? And the competitive questions: What do we do about the various products Microsoft is allegedly offering?

You ask it as a question, rather than a pithy answer, and that stimulates conversation. Out of the conversation comes innovation. Innovation is not something that I just wake up one day and say 'I want to innovate.' I think you get a better innovative culture if you ask it as a question."



Asking Searching Questions

Challenging Assumptions

"Why? What If?" Questions

4 Questions To Ask Yourself for True Success

Innovation-adept Culture

Inspiring Culture

Creating a Culture for Innovation

5 Strategies for Creating a Culture of Innovation

Transform Your Business Into an Innovative Culture

Creativity Management

10 Secrets of Creativity

Obstacles To Innovation

How To Prevent Innovation: 10 Tips

6 Barriers To Creative Thinking

How To Kill Creativity: 10 Easy Steps