Storytelling at Work
May 10, 2020
WANT AN ELEGANT SOLUTION? Contemplate These Questions

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As an innovation provocateur for the past 33 years with these organizations, one thing I've noticed is that even the brightest of people spend very little time looking for elegant solutions to their problems. All too often, they go with the "first right idea" -- one that is often lame, ho hum, or just plain stupid. If you are faced with a challenge or problem these days that needs a fresh approach, pause for a while, noodle, and jot down your responses to at least some of the following questions. Fifteen minutes effort now is likely to save you hours of wasted effort down the road.

1. How can you frame your challenge, problem, or opportunity in the form of a question, beginning with the words "How can I?"

2. What are three other ways you can frame your question?

3. What is the back story of your problem? Its history?

4. What are your limiting assumptions about the problem?

5. What have you tried before that's worked? What hasn't worked?

6. What are your your hoped for outcomes?

7. Imagine it's a year from now and you have succeeded. What does success look like?

8. What are your intuitions telling you about how to proceed?

9. Imagine your fairy godmother granted you a wish? What would it be?


10. What is the simplest possible solution to your problem?

11. What if time was not an issue? How would you approach your problem differently?

12. What advice would a five-year old give you?

13. If you already knew the solution to your problem, what would it be?

14. Who do you need to brainstorm with or get feedback from?

15. What if money were no object? How would this change your approach?

16. How would the person who most inspires you approach your problem?

17. Open the nearest book and point randomly to a word. What clues does this word give you about proceeding?

18. What is the root cause of your problem?

19. If you had to solve this problem today, what would you do?

20. Jot down as many possible solutions to your problem as you can in the next five minutes. Then circle the one that most intrigues you.

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Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at May 10, 2020 05:59 AM

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Storytelling at Work is a blog about the power of personal storytelling – why it matters and what you can do to more effectively communicate your stories – on or off the job. Inspired by the book of the same name, the blog features "moment of truth" stories by the author, Mitch Ditkoff, plus inspired rants, quotes, and guest submissions by readers.

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Storytelling for the Revolution
Storytelling for the Revolution is Mitch Ditkoff's newly published book about the power of personal storytelling to elevate the conversation on planet Earth. Provocative. Evocative. And fun. YOU have stories to tell. This book will help you tell them.
Storytelling at Work
"The world is not made of atoms," wrote the poet, Muriel Rukeyser. "It's made of stories." Learn how to discover, honor, and unpack the stories of yours that show up "on the job" in Mitch Ditkoff's award-winning 2015 book, Storytelling at Work.
Do you want to know more about the book before buying it? Click here for Mitch's response to frequently asked questions about Storytelling at Work – the perfect book for people who think they have no time to read.
The Workshop
Storytelling is an "unconscious competency" – an ability we all have that all too often remains inaccessible to us. Enter the Storytelling at Work workshop – a simple way to activate this powerful, innate skill.
Wisdom Circles
Want to establish a culture of storytelling in your organization or community? Looking for a simple way to help people to share their meaningful, memorable stories with each other? Here's how.
Podcasts & Videos
Click here to view and listen to a series of interviews with the author of this blog. Go beyond the written word. Listen. Feel. Elevate the conversation. Understand what the big deal is about personal storytelling.
Blogs 'R Us
If you like this blog, you might also like Mitch's other two blogs: The Heart of Innovation and The Heart of the Matter. Mitch is also a regular contributor to the Huffington Post.
Idea Champions
When Mitch isn't writing, he's captaining the good ship Idea Champions, a leading edge innovation consulting and training company based in Woodstock, NY. What their clients say.