The right questions…
I read a blog early this year by Edward Boches at Creativity Unbound. Like Seth Godin, he’s one of the people you should follow and read regularly because he always makes you think.
Anyway, the point of the blog was the importance of asking the right questions.
He told a story about Irish Spring, the distinctive green soap created by Colgate Palmolive in the early 1970’s. It became an instant hit, a billion dollar brand and the leader in its category that had previously been dominated by P&G.
What did P&G do? They immediately began working on their own version of a green-striped soap.
It’s easy to get caught up in this kind of mindset.
Luckily for P&G, they invested in brainpower from outside their organization to help keep their creative teams on the cutting edge of innovation, and one of these experts, Min Basadur, who wrote the book, “The Power of Innovation,” changed the question from ‘How do we make our own version of Irish Spring?’ to ‘How might we…?”
Like: How might we make a better soap? How might we make a more refreshing soap? How might we make a soap that conveys the imagery of a sandy, white beach?
Voila! COAST was created, and while it never bested Irish Spring, it made a lot of money for P&G.
If we, in Radio, had asked the right questions 25 or 30 years ago, we might be in a different place right now.
The good news is, it’s never too late to start asking the “How might we?” question, and once you start the process, it begins to sustain itself in a continual process of innovation.
Both Google and Ideo use the “How Might We?” method to begin their problem-solving process, and if it’s good enough for two of the successful and innovative companies in the world, it might be worth consideration inside your company too, don’t you think?
Here, help me. Use the comments section below to ask your own “How might we…?” questions.
You never know who might end up reading this.