The 5 Questions Every Company Should Ask Itself
IN INTERVIEWING SOME OF THE BIGGEST INNOVATION EXPERTS, INCLUDING CLAYTON CHRISTENSEN AND ERIC RIES, WARREN BERGER FOUND THAT ASKING THE RIGHT QUESTIONS CAN BE MORE CHALLENGING THAN FINDING ANSWERS.
1. WHAT IS OUR COMPANY’S PURPOSE ON THIS EARTH?
To arrive at a powerful sense of purpose, Yamashita says, companies today need “a fundamental orientation that is outward looking”—so they can understand what people out there in the world truly desire and need, and what’s standing in the way. At the same time, business leaders also must look inward, to try to clarify their own core values and larger ambitions.
2. WHAT SHOULD WE STOP DOING?
But the harder question has to do with what you’re willing to eliminate. If you can’t answer that question, Bergstrand maintains, “it lessens your chances of being successful at what you want to do next—because you’ll be sucking up resources doing what’s no longer needed and taking those resources away from what should be a top priority.”
3. IF WE DIDN’T HAVE AN EXISTING BUSINESS, HOW COULD WE BEST BUILD A NEW ONE?
“…Answering this question can point to future opportunities and help your share price to outperform the market by showing “that there’s more growth here than analysts may have thought.”
4. WHERE IS OUR PETRI DISH?
Ogilvie’s question is really asking, “Where in the company is it safe to ask radical questions? Where, within the company, can you explore heretical questions that could threaten the business as it is—without contaminating what you’re doing now?”
5. HOW CAN WE MAKE A BETTER EXPERIMENT?
“This means that instead of asking “What will we do?” or “What will we build?” the emphasis should be on “What will we learn?”
[Image: Sketch via Shuttershock]
Companies that challenge perceived wisdom, where new ideas are encouraged, where learning is viewed as a central part of their ethos, are often the best and most stimulating places to work. They also tend to value the input from employees at all levels, as opposed to just senior and medium level management (and that of external consultants)
A bit of a sweeping statement perhaps - but there’s an element of truth in this I think - certainly from my experience recruiting for a range of employers over the past 20 odd years.