Tiimiakatemia on Jyväskylän Ammattikorkeakoulun yrittäjyyden huippuyksikkö

Questions Are the Answer

Kirjoitettu 04.12.20
Esseen kirjoittaja: Jenni Suomalainen
Kirjapisteet: 2
Kirja: Questions Are the Answer
Kirjan kirjoittaja: Hal Gregersen
Kategoriat: 9.01. Oppiminen, 9.04. Johtaminen, 9.07. Innovointi

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Questions Are the Answer is a book written by Hal Gregersen, an innovation and leadership guru. Gregersen is also the Executive Director of the MIT Leadership Center and a Senior Lecturer at the MIT Sloan School of Management. As you might have guessed this book touches on the topic of asking the right questions and why are the questions often more important than the answers.


“The important and difficult job is never to find the right answers, it is to find the right question. For there are few things as useless, if not dangerous, as the right answer to the wrong question.”

– Peter Drucker


I am a huge Disney fan so one thing that made this book extra interesting for me was that it used Pixar and Disney quite a few times as an example of an organizations that systematically use questions to make better movies. For example, Disney (now a days owns also Pixar) has regular meetings with their screenwriters where they get together and share their script ideas to each other and provide their work open for questioning. The idea of the session is not to bash on each other’s ideas, but it is rather a space where you give your work for others to question, to make it possibly better by seeing things and perspectives you might have missed on your own, since it is quite easy to develop blind spots for your own ideas.


“Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”

– Albert Einstein


The book also introduced the reader to a process called the Question Burst. It is basically very similar to the Brainstorming approach but provides the space for innovation from a new angle: instead of trying to come up with many ideas, you take the time to come up with questions on the issue.

Steps for Question Burst:

  1. Set the Stage – Pick a challenge that is important. Choose a group to participate in the session. Ideally choose people, who are not too close and familiar with the topic and whose views are different from yours.
  2. Brainstorm the questions – Set a timer for four minutes. Generate as many questions on the given the challenge as possible. Write all the questions down. Don’t answer the questions or explain why you are asking them. Try to come up with at least 20 questions during the four minutes. One person does the writing and everyone else just comes up with questions.
  3. Identify a quest and commit to it – Study the questions you’ve come up with and choose few “catalytic” questions (ones that seem most potential for messing up with the status quo). Commit to pursuing at least one new pathway on solving the challenge.


I liked this approach on the innovation and ideation process because I think that worked together with the traditional Brainwriting process you can come up with completely new ideas since you are finding new questions to ask rather than staying stuck on the obvious choices. I want to implement this simple exercise into at least one birth giving, team’s goals ideation etc. to at least try it out.


“Don’t listen to the person who has the answers; listen to the person who has the questions.”

– Albert Einstein

I enjoyed this book greatly and I could even say that it was one of my favorite books I’ve listened during my time at Tiimiakatemia. The book provided a lot of examples, studies and even tools on the topic of questioning. Still at some point the book started to feel quite long since after you’ve listened for almost nine hours on the topic of importance of questioning you don’t get as many aha-feelings on the topic, but I would still recommend the book for others to listen to.

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