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The Future is Questions

Why rediscovering the art of asking great questions is the next great superpower skill to develop

We live in a world obsessed with telling stories. Between Zoom’s spotlight effect, social media’s “look-at-me” culture, and our shrinking social circles, conversations are increasingly one-sided. 

The art— and power—of asking questions is getting lost.

This is why questions are having a moment in the media spotlight. Question-centric thinking has recently been showcased by Harvard Business ReviewMIT Sloan, and Fast Company. Even these 14-year-old quotes from Jensen Huang, today’s superstar CEO of Nvidia, are making the rounds again: “The best way to get smarter is to ask a lot of questions” and “The only way to solve hard problems is to ask the right questions.”

Business leaders and researchers are again championing the art and science of asking brilliant questions. There are frameworks for the five types of questions to ask during strategic decision-making: investigative, speculative, productive, interpretive, and subjective. There are techniques to learn, like “question burst” and “catalytic questioning.” 

So, why is this more important than ever? Why is “the art of asking great questions” hot again?

First, there are the social implications. 

In an era of loneliness, questions foster deeper connections and improve interpersonal bonding—studies also show that questions are a powerful way of making people feel needed or valued

Then there are the business implications.

Businesses are operating in a stakeholder economy that is moving into a post-growth era

This is a time when we all crave to be heard as stakeholders—and businesses who listen through questions build stronger relationships with their customers and employees. 

Meanwhile, inside businesses, the avenues of innovation are opened through curiosity. In a recent study, 49% of employees reported they don’t regularly contribute new ideas because no one asks them questions.

Finally, AI — and questions are intertwining with the future of work.

AI excels at automating tasks and crunching data but can’t ask the insightful questions that unlock its true potential. With AI, we need to increase our question velocity, question variety, and question novelty. The people who will write the best prompts will be the ones who ask the best questions. 

Together, this is the bottom line: 
Those who will succeed in the future—at work, at home, and everywhere in between—will elevate the talents and skills that make them uniquely human. They will develop their talent for taste and the skill of asking great questions.

Are you ready for questions to be the answer?

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Brent is a member of the executive team for Opus Agency, partner to world-shaping brands.
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