After many years of building a business and working on digital products, I've found that one of the most critical skills you need is to ask good questions.
Too often, myself or others did not come up with the right question while we started working on the solutions.
The result: you end up with something entirely useless.
But what is a question? And why are they so important?
Questions organize our thinking around what we don't know. Thinking - for yourself - is mainly about asking questions. If you would like information from another brain, asking a question is the tool to achieve this.
Tim Ferris gave some advice around asking questions while having a conversation, he says that the order of asking questions is essential. Don't start with the hard questions; begin with the easier ones to receive better answers. Besides that, make sure questions don't take too much time to answer; asking for a favorite book is hard since people read many book, it's too broad, but if you ask which book you gave away most often, it is easier to reply.
For innovation, questions are more important than answers; questions are at the root of creation. Elon Musk says; when your question is correct, the answer in most cases follows relatively easy.
Four-year-old kids ask around 300 questions a day; this is close to zero when they leave school. This is because parents get tired of answering all the different questions, teachers only look for answers, and bosses don't want to be questioned: 'this is the way we do it.'
We stop being curious.
But the 'curiosity questions' are at the root of new ideas. It's how we challange how things work, they open the door to improvements.
We ask better questions when we begin to ask more questions and basically become error-correcting machines.
We need to create time to think and less distractions. The four-year-old kid who asks 'why why why' all the time is the person who discovers the world around here, and why should we stop exploring?