The Question is More Valuable then the Answer

Recently I had a discussion with someone in my company. I was talking about the our team and how things we going, and the challenge of all of these new things we needed to work on.

I said we needed to structure things better because there were so many unanswered questions we needed to address before we began a design.

'We spend more then half the time asking people questions and getting answers'

He looked at me and said:

'Ya know, your group has kinda a reputation of asking a lot of questions. This could turn some people off...'

Design for the Conversation

About 15 years ago, when the internet was new, I worked directly with the newly appointed CIO of a large Swedish organisation. My role was to facilitate the development of a ‘Internet Strategy’ for the company. No small task, but it was just the internet, how hard could it be ? To assist me, we had enlisted the help of a very large consulting company.

The project was one of my most successful, but not really for the end product but more for the process that was we used. The process comprised of a great deal of interviews with stakeholders, but also with a number of end users. We conducted collaborative sessions with the team to discuss and prioritise outcomes, develop the strategies and make a number of ’Straw Man Proposals’ to discuss and modify. I was particularly struck with the value of 'Straw man proposals ' in that encouraged the team to think in terms of 'unfinished'  that could be iterated upon.