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Smart Questions: Learn to Ask the Right Questions for Powerful Results Paperback – June 1, 2010
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—Paul Torgersen, president emeritus and John W. Hancock Chair of Engineering, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
“Smart Questions is a must for nonprofit business. The Smart Questions Approach definitely jump-started our staff in planning and thinking differently about solving problems. Our staff now gets creative solutions by asking Smart Questions.”
—Michael Jackson, president and CEO, Drew Child Development Corporation, Los Angeles
“The ideas in Smart Questions are very intriguing and helpful. It’s the first book I know of to give structure and substance to the cliché that a person faced with a problem (or an opportunity) should first search fo r the right questions, rather than for the right answers. Bravo! The book will surely move the reader a long way toward thinking creatively.”
—Steven B. Sample, author of the best-seller The Contrarian’s Guide to Leadership and president, University of Southern California
“Distilling from many years of successful consulting to leading innovators in business, the arts, and public and private organizations, the authors have crafted an engaging, practical ‘how to’ primer for learning what it takes to build the personal, interpersonal, and organizational bases in knowledge and understanding that support successful innovation.”
—Edward O. Laumann, George Herbert Mead Distinguished Service Professor of Sociology and the College, University of Chicago
“Smart Questions penetrates to the core of what creative managers intuitively do. It provides major insight into how to attend to and leverage the social, physical, and organizational context of a problem. An excellent blend of modern and postmodern thinking.”
—John Seely Brown, coauthor of the best-seller The Social Life of Information and former chief scientist and director of Xerox’s Palo Alto Research Center (PARC)
From the Inside Flap
Smart Questions offers an entirely new framework for creating solutions. Drawn from the authors' many years of research and field experience, the Smart Questions Approach reveals how the leading creators of solutions in almost every profession and walk of life—including business, government, education, and even in families—think and approach their assignments. The author’s holistic thinking approach shows how to use three “foundation” questions—focusing on uniqueness, purposeful information, and systems—which must be explored for every problem. These three questions, an essent ial starting point for exploring problems, in turn lead to other key questions that will ultimately create effective solutions.
Smart Questions will completely retrain the reader to become a more intelligent thinker and a better creator of solutions—with an ability to develop creative, purposeful, long-term answers in a wide range of situations.--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
And that, to me, is where the problem lies.
Rather than provide a comprehensive approach to solving problems, I found this publication to be lacking in providing an over-arching framework that could be applied in the same was a 'Breakthrough Thinking'.
What I found instead was greater detail on a smaller number of actions that left me with the not so smart question - why did the authors write this book? Between "Breakthrough Thinking" and "Creative Solution Finding" most of the material in this newer publicatioin has been covered and, if you've not read Nadler & Hibino's previous works then I could only suggest you start there and arrive at this publication only if you still feel you're missing something.
On occasions, the work feels elusive - we are left short of understanding the key processes and key criteria for how the level at which decisions are made are arrived at. I found that a recurring problem and one difficult to overlook.
As with all the publications that come within this 'series', you can't go wrong in buying and learning from what is written. I just feel this is one of the weaker additions to their efforts as it adds very little that I could describe as new to what they have already covered. Maybe in more detail but detail is not the wisdom of which they obviously aim for.
Smart Questions is process-centric rather than principle-centric. It builds on the Breakthrough Thinking principles and 'flow of reasoning' and has three major components:
- Three foundation questions interweave the uniqueness, information, and systems principles into the fabric of a compelling process.
- Four phases of the SQA process are solidly based on the people, purposes, solutions, and time betterment principles.
- The three-step LOD (List, Organize, Decide) sub process for applying smart questions incorporates divergent and convergent thinking as naturally as breathing as you work through the phases of the process.
In particular, the process is smoother and the steps flow into each other in a way that should make it easier to achieve more momentum faster on projects. I will definitely use it.
There is an updated and expanded portfolio of really useful tools. Developing a purposes hierarchy is much easier whether you are using the couplet test in conjunction with a structured approach or using basic categories with an intuitive method. The authors also provide a powerful list of verbs that really do stimulate thinking about purposes. New additions also include
- The Smart Questions Decision Worksheet
- The Smart Questions People Involvement Worksheet
- Twelve core questions that apply the three foundation questions to each of the four phases of the process
- Hundreds of indicative smart question to stimulate and inspire and keep the process moving.
If you are willing to invest some time and effort, this book really has the potential to improve your life
It's worthwhile reading for first year university students and neophytes to the advisory professions.