For over a decade, I've been asking people, "What's your favorite question to be asked by innovative people?" I've studied hundreds of responses and the trend is undeniable. The 3 most frequently used words in most of the questions are NEED, WANT and WISH. As a result, I've developed a simple, yet powerful question that I frequently ask people when I first meet them. I think this is the ultimate question to ask people in order to discover how you might help them. Six simple words can provoke and inspire some deep thoughts.
"What is NEEDED, WANTED or WISHED?"
Needs Are Different from Wants.
Three words (Needs, Wants, Wishes) may seem synonymous but they can provoke very different responses. What people think they need may not be what they want, and conversely, what some people want may not be what they need. Therefore, it is important to ask people what they need and want.
The WISH Word Inspires Dreaming.
When I attended a Synectics workshop I discovered the importance of phrasing problem headlines that began with the "I wish…" phrase that connects with desired experiences.
The Question is a KnowBrainer.
For graduates of my innovation training workshops and owners of the KnowBrainer innovation tool, you now know how I've incorporated the "Needs, Wants, Wish" question into the Stage 1 of the Accelerated Innovation Process and card #10 of the KnowBrainer.
- Identify 3-5 people you want to help
- Ask them, "What do you need, want or wish?"
- Take notes and distinguish the differences between needs, wants, and wishes
- Create ideas to help them address their needs or wants, or make their wishes become reality
Idea-lly, Gerald "Solutionman" Haman