WARNING: These 17 Questions Will Result in Dangerously High Levels of Creativity

  1. What is this thing made of?
  2. What’s missing?
  3. What was the thinking and context that led to its initial creation?
  4. Why did this work in the past?
  5. What’s different today?
  6. How has the customer’s or user’s (internal or external) needs changed since this was originally conceived?
  7. What are the core rules, truisms, traditions or beliefs that are currently holding this together that could be challenged?
  8. Where else in the world does a similar problem or pattern exist?
  9. What technical advances have emerged since this version’s construction that could be implemented for improvement?
  10. How durable is it, and where are the likely fault lines or soft sports?
  11. What’s one new component I could add?
  12. What’s one thing I could subtract? Or substitute?
  13. If I could wave my magic wand to make this better, what might that look like?
  14. How can this be reassembled or rearranged to save time or money? Improve quality? Solve a new problem?
  15. How do other people solve a similar problem in my field? Outside my field?
  16. What ideas could I borrow from nature or art that might inspire an upgrade?
  17. How might I make it bigger, such as more horsepower or computing capacity? Smaller, such as a leaner footprint, less waste, faster delivery?

Ask the right questions, and your creativity cell count will elevate to stratospheric levels. If you experience dizziness or delirium, consult your physician immediately. Or better yet, pick up a paint brush, musical instrument, laptop, or microphone… and jam away!