Qualities of Good Questions – An Essential Futures Frame

Just loved this list of qualities of good questions from Kelly (2016). Good questions are the key to being ready for new futures and ultimately, when executed well, the most human of our strengths. I’ll post a fuller review of the book (which I liked very much!) later, but until then, here’s one from the web. Consider these and add more! Thinking about this “what are the most important things for social work to do to be ready for a dynamic, unpredictable and turbulent future?” I think part of the answer…is challenging ourselves to ask better, deeper, more disruptive questions with courage and creativity…!

“A good question is like the one Albert Einstein asked himself as a small boy ‘what would you see if you were traveling on a beam of light?’ That question launched the theory of relativity (E=MC2) and the atomic age.

  • A good question is not concerned with a correct answer.
  • A good question cannot be answered immediately.
  • A good question challenges existing answers.
  • A good question is one you badly want answered once you hear it, but had no inkling you could before it was asked.
  • A good question creates new territory of thinking.
  • A good question reframes its own answers.
  • A good question is the seed of innovation in science, technology, art, politics and business.
  • A good question is a probe – a ‘what if’ scenario.
  • A good question skirts on the edge of what is known and not known, neither silly nor obvious.
  • A good question cannot be predicted.
  • A good question is one that generates many other questions.
  • A good question may be the last job a machine will ever learn to do.
  • A good question is what humans are for (pp. 288-289).”

Kelly, Kevin (2016). The inevitable: Understanding the 12 technological forces that will shape our future. New York: Penguin Books.

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