A More Beautiful Question

By Warren Berger 

We’re all hungry today for better answers. But first, we must learn to ask the right questions.

In his groundbreaking 2014 bestseller A MORE BEAUTIFUL QUESTION, journalist and innovation expert Warren Berger shows that one of the most powerful forces for igniting change in business and in our daily lives is a simple, under-appreciated tool—one that has been available to us since childhood. Questioning—deeply, imaginatively, “beautifully”—can help us identify and solve problems, come up with game-changing ideas, and pursue fresh opportunities. So why are we often reluctant to ask “Why?”

The Mindful Day

By Laurie J. Cameron

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For overscheduled professionals looking to incorporate mindfulness into their daily lives, this step-by-step guide draws on contemplative traditions, modern neuroscience, and leading psychology to bring peace and focus to the home, in the workplace, and beyond.

Designed for busy professionals looking to integrate mindfulness into their daily lives, this ultimate guide draws on contemplative practice, modern neuroscience, and positive psychology to bring peace and focus to the home, in the workplace, and beyond.ideas, and pursue fresh opportunities. So why are we often reluctant to ask “Why?”

Questions are the Answer

By Hal Gregersen

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Talk to creative problem-solvers and they will often tell you, the key to their success is asking a different question.

Take Debbie Sterling, the social entrepreneur who created GoldieBlox. The idea came when a friend complained about too few women in engineering and Sterling wondered aloud: “Why are all the great building toys made for boys?” Or consider Nobel laureate Richard Thaler, who asked: “Would it change economic theory if we stopped pretending people were rational?” Or listen to technologist Elon Musk, who routinely challenges assumptions with questions like: “What are people accepting as an industry standard, when there’s room for significant improvement?”

Better Brainstorming

By Hal Gregersen

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About 20 years ago I was leading a brainstorming session in one of my MBA classes, and it was like wading through oatmeal. We were talking about something that many organizations struggle with: how to build a culture of equality in a male-dominated environment. Though it was an issue the students cared about, they clearly felt uninspired by the ideas they were generating. After a lot of discussion, the energy level in the room was approaching nil. Glancing at the clock, I resolved to at least give us a starting point for the next session.

“Everyone,” I improvised, “let’s forget about finding answers for today and just come up with some new questions we could be asking about this problem. Let’s see how many we can write down in the time we have left.” The students dutifully started to throw out questions, and I scribbled them on a chalkboard, redirecting anybody who started to suggest an answer. To my surprise, the room was quickly energized. At the end of the session, people left talking excitedly about a few of the questions that had emerged—those that challenged basic assumptions we had been making. For instance: Were there grassroots efforts we could support, rather than handing down rules from the top? And: What could we learn from pockets within our own organization that had achieved equality, instead of automatically looking elsewhere for best practices? Suddenly, there was much more to discuss, because we had opened up unexpected pathways to potential solutions.

What’s Discovered When Disciplines Learn from Each Other

By Jeffrey Nesteruk

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With all the discord around us these days, it’s refreshing as an educator to find a new way of collaborating across our perceived boundaries, especially in an unexpected part of the academy. That’s precisely what’s presented by Aspen’s new offering, Charting a New Course for Next-Generation Business Leaders.

The boundary spanning—or “blending,” as Aspen puts it—is a creative integration of business and the humanities, something present as far back as the inception of the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, yet also something dearly needed to be made new again in our contemporary world of commerce.

Into the Magic Shop

by James R. Doty, MD

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Extraordinary things happen when we harness the power of both the brain and the heart
 
"Growing up in the high desert of California, Jim Doty was poor, with an alcoholic father and a mother chronically depressed and paralyzed by a stroke. Today he is the director of the Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education (CCARE) at Stanford University, of which the Dalai Lama is a founding benefactor. But back then his life was at a dead end until at twelve he wandered into a magic shop looking for a plastic thumb. Instead he met Ruth, a woman who taught him a series of exercises to ease his own suffering and manifest his greatest desires. Her final mandate was that he keep his heart open and teach these techniques to others. She gave him his first glimpse of the unique relationship between the brain and the heart." See More
 

Decelerate to Accelerate: The fastest way forward may be to slow down.

"It’s ironic that the people who seek to create a more sustainable world often live the most unsustainable lives of all, sacrificing their finances, their relationships, and sometimes even their health to pursue a broader social mission.

This is especially true for social entrepreneurs who set out to save the world and end up exhausting themselves. As Cheryl Heller, founding chair of MFA Design for Social Innovation, points out, we may be in danger of becoming the “fast food of social change” if we don’t take the time to slow down and go deep. In other words, we need to rethink how change really happens. Maybe it’s less about scaling up and more about scaling in. Getting to the core of the real issues that need healing. Starting with ourselves." See More

The Better You Know Yourself, the More Resilient You’ll Be

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"When we think about “resilience,” we typically imagine bouncing back from major hardship. Management theorists have increasingly put forward a more nuanced definition, however: resilience as the ability to adapt to complex change. But in today’s world, that means the demand for resilience is almost constant. With the ongoing onslaught of problems leaders face, and change being the only constant in organizational life, leaders must cultivate resilience as an ongoing skill, not just for the “big moments” of painful setbacks or major change." See More