In 1902 Alabama tourist Mary Anderson watched her New York streetcar driver struggling to see through his snow-covered windshield and wondered, Why doesn’t someone create a device to remove the snow? (The “someone,” of course, became Mary, designer of the first windshield wiper.) Sixty years later, Bob Kearns brought the windshield wiper into the modern era by posing a new question of his own. Kearns was dissatisfied with wipers that moved at one speed whether it was pouring or drizzling outside; he inquired, Why can’t a wiper work more like my eyelid, blinking as much (or little) as needed? Kearns worked on his “intermittent wiper” idea in his basement, eventually coming up with an elegantly simple three-component electronic sensing and timing device. (The sad story of how the Big Three car companies infringed on his patent is told in the 2008 film Flash of Genius.)
A few Question quotes
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Want to be a better critical thinker? Questions can be a powerful way to spot false narratives and “weaponized lies.” Read more about it in this article I wrote for The Atlantic’s Quartz.com.
The following eight questions—shared by a noteworthy lineup of entrepreneurs, innovators, consultants, and creative thinkers—can help you figure out where your heart lies and what you really ought to be doing.
I don’t know if they qualify as “beautiful questions” but there’s something oddly fascinating about the imaginative questions that band leader Reggie Watts asks the guests of James Corden’s The Late Late Show.
At the 2016 Capital Coaches Conference I’ll be discussing my belief that coaches, who already know the power of great questions, should teach their clients how to become beautiful questioners themselves.
In The Coaching Habit: Say Less, Ask More & Change the Way You Lead Forever, by Michael Bungay Stanier, Michael shares 7 powerful questions that can make someone a better leader or manager.