Enhance Productivity and Efficiency with Stephen’s Innovation Insights

Innovation Insights by Stephen Shapiro

Today we move to the “Ask” part of my FAST Innovation Model (Focus, Ask, Shift, Test).

In this installment we explore a well-known challenge and one unsuccessful method used to solve it. This method is one that is common inside of organizations…and it rarely works.

Be sure to watch the previous videos!


Today, we move to the second part of my FAST model. If you remember correctly, FAST stands for focus, ask, shift, and test.

Today, we are going to talk about asking better questions as a means of getting better solutions, the 2nd part of the FAST model.

And we’ll start with a well-known example. On April 20, 2010, the Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded, and over the course of 87 days 180 million gallons of crude oil pumped into the gulf coast of the United States. After about seven different innovative ways to stop the flow of the oil, none of them which worked.

With nowhere else to turn, they tried something that a lot of people in the world of innovation have been turning to these days: crowdsourcing. That is, asking crowds for solutions, ideas, and questions. They created a website. Basically what it said is, “We have a problem. Do you have a solution?” Over the course of just a few weeks, they received 123,000 submissions.

Now, on the face of this, this sounds like a great thing because people are concerned, they’re passionate, they’re engaged.

But the big question is, of those 123,000, how many were deemed as having any value at all whatsoever? The answer is about a dozen, and none of those even had anything to do with the final solution.

So if you think about it, that means that 99.99% of the time, thinking about a problem, submitting the solution, and evaluating those solutions was a waste of time.

This is why I say asking for ideas is a bad idea. In the next installment, we will talk about how do we go from ideas to well-framed questions where we look for solutions

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