W. Edwards Deming once said “If you do not know how to ask the right questions, you discover nothing.” As millions upon millions of individuals participate in all this “social stuff” the edge of innovation lies within the questions we ask ourselves and the entire community. However much of what we see is not a discussion around discovery rather a reiteration of what is vs. what could be.
“What is” conversations are centric to topics which do not bring about discovery. What could be are conversational topics which make people think about what could be but currently isn’t. A discovery starts with what is and pushes innovative thought to create something of higher value than what is. Here are some examples of what is in today’s social media world:
- Social Media is growing faster than any other previous technology
- Conversationsal content attracts people with an affinity to a topic
- Connecting conversations is a convoluted disconnected technological matrix
- The economics of social media is largely viewed as an innovative advertising model
- Corporate and political transparency has just begun to create sytemic and political disruption
- Besides the social value of conversations markets are trying to define economic value
- Much of the economic value lies within the intangibles which in themselves are elements of discovery
- Knowledge exchanges combined with experientail learning is creating new knowledge fueling further innovation
The critical questions that could reveal new discoveries from “what is” fall into four elements which will reflect the profound knowledge created by the dynamics generated from the current “what is” statements. The four elements that are pushing “tipping points” of discovery are:
- Human interaction facilitated by technological interfaces represents an evolving new system of inter-connected processes and people
- Data, in the form of technological markers combined with human interaction, is creating a tsunami of value yet to be discovered
- The psychological dynamics of a “connected world” is creating new behaviors and accelerated discoveries of changing human dynamics
- Theories of Knowledge are changing. When we come up with ideas these ideas will be based our current knowledge and our theories about what is. But theories can be wrong so we must actively check to determine if they are correct and centered on what could be.
So What Are The Questions?
In order to discover what could be our focus should be on learning how to ask the right questions. Businesses and individuals tend to accept what is and try to make it work in a world of changing dynamics that are creating more of what could be. When we reflect on the list of “what is” the questions which could lead us to discovering new value from new innovation are:
- What does the growth of adoption mean to me or my business?
- What content, conversations and relations attract our customers?
- How could we better connect conversations and create more value?
- What are the economics of intangibles? What are my intangibles?
- What value proposition is better than an advertising medium?
- What changes will transparency bring to my business, my life, my country?
- What creates economic value rather than what is the economic value?
- What value do we create that is intangible today?
- How can we combine knowledge with experiential learning?
- What theories are we operating under? Should our theories change? If so to what?
Obviously there are a lot more questions to ask and that is the point of this post. The question is do you know which questions to ask? The power of today’s emerging markets is that there are millions of people who can answer the questions and collectively discover what can be rather than what is. Economic gains come from creating value unexpected but needed. That kind of value comes from what isn’t not what is. Get it? Start asking and listening to the questions.
What is your question?