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Innovation Insights by Stephen Shapiro

Today we discuss The Goldilocks Principle. This is a method for asking better questions by avoiding ones that are too “hard” or too “soft” and looking for those that are “just right.”

We are in the “Ask” portion of the FAST Innovation Model (Focus, Ask, Shift, Test)

Be sure to watch the previous videos!

Transcription:

In the last two videos, I talked about the Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion and the Exxon Valdez oil spill.

Today, I want to talk about the Goldilocks Principle. Remember Goldilocks and the three bears? She goes into a house, one bed is too soft, one bed is too hard, and one is just right. The same thing is true with the questions that we ask.

Some questions tend to be too soft, too abstract, too fluffy, sort of like, “How do we stop the flow of oil in the Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion?” That invites a lot of noise. “How do I increase sales? How do I increase productivity? How do I increase margins?” These invite a lot of wasted energy.

On the flip side, we sometimes ask questions that are too hard, too specific, too detailed. They’re either solutions masquerading as questions or they’re so specific that they limit us to one domain of expertise. This was the case with the Exxon Valdez oil spill where originally it was thought the problem had to do with oil. Actually, it was a common fluid dynamics issue.

So what we want to do is make sure we are asking questions that are just right. In the next examples, we will talk about a number of different places with Goldilocks principle was applied to get better solutions.

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