Ed Catmull on how to take the creative efforts of groups much further

In the Foreword to Questions Are the Answer, Ed Catmull asks a few:

What if “we valued the answers we arrive at mainly because of all the new and better questions they lead us to? Put another way, what if instead of seeing questions ars the keys that unlock answers, we saw answers as stepping stones to the next questions? That strikes me as a different mindset — and one that could take the creative efforts of groups much further.”

With all due respect to the importance of listening skills, it is even more important to develop the skill for asking the right questions. In this context, I am reminded of an incident years ago when one of Einstein’s Princeton colleagues gently chided him for asking the same questions on his final examinations every year. “Quite true. Guilty as charged. Each year, the answers are different.” More recently, Peter Drucker observed, “There is nothing so useless as doing efficiently that which should not be done at all.”

I highly recommend Questions Are the Answer: A Breakthrough Approach to Your Most Vexing Problems at Work and in Life, written by Hal Gregersen and published by Harper Business (November 2018).

I also highly recommend Catmull’s masterpiece, Creativity, Inc.: Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration .

Hal Gregersen is executive director of the MIT Leadership Center. To learn more about him and his work, please click here.

Ed Catmull is a computer scientist and current president of Pixar Animation Studios and Walt Disney Animation Studios, including the latter’s DisneyToon Studios division. To learn about more him and his work, please click here.



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