In order to generate new ideas, remain competitive and unlock breakthrough innovations, Phil McKinney argues that we need to ask more questions. Most recently vice president and chief technology officer for Hewlett-Packard’s (HP) $40 billion personal systems group, McKinney retired in December 2011. During his nine-year tenure at HP, McKinney founded and directed the company’s innovation program office. In his new book, Beyond the Obvious: Killer Questions that Spark Game-Changing Innovation, McKinney argues that you have to ask “killer questions” to test your assumptions and break through what you know — to find out what you don’t know.
Below is an excerpt from Chapter 1: “Why Questions Matter,” which documents the thought process that led to the idea of killer questions.