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Questionstorming: How Critical Thinking Makes Business Sense

Filed under: Business,Special Comments |
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Leo Igwe

By Leo Igwe

The Critical Thinking Social Empowerment Foundation has been working and campaigning to promote critical thinking skills in schools. Operationalized as questionstorm, the foundation has been making a case for teaching critical thinking and inquiry-based learning. However, many people have been asking and trying to know the value and benefits of critical thinking. They want to understand why critical thinking should be introduced to schools at a time when there are already many subjects.

A recent article, by Sam Aquillano draws attention to the value of critical thinking skills. It argues that questionstorm makes business sense. Questionstorm enriches business design. Business owners often want to new products or to improve existing products. Sam Aquillano urges them to engage in questionstorming because curiosity is fundamental in business design: “If you want to understand what your audience is curious about, ask them what questions they have about it”. Questions are revealing. Questionstorming unconceals and uncovers the needs of the people and what they care about.

Questionstorming is a problem-solving approach but does not provide solutions. This article reiterates a point that I have made in an earlier article. Questionstorming is distinct from brainstorming because it focuses on generating questions and problems, not solutions: “Like its more popular counterpart, brainstorming, questionstorming revolves around group collaboration to explore a topic from various angles. However, rather than generating ideas or solutions, the primary objective is to create a flood of questions — as many as possible”.

So it is pertinent that a subject be devoted to questionstorming in schools. From the elementary to the tertiary level education, questionstorming should be encouraged. Children should be taught to generate questions in all areas of human endeavor. As Aquillano: “A question is an invitation to explore and, more importantly, a signal to take action. Questionstorming encourages a fundamental shift in thinking. It seeks to challenge preconceived notions, assumptions, and biases that might otherwise go unexamined. Question-storming is a process that invites curiosity, the spirit of exploration, and the desire to understand better”.

Thus, to start a business, one needs to ask questions. One generates questions in a way that makes some business sense. To that end, one gathers people in groups, selects a topic, generates questions, does not answer the question, and looks for patterns. Those patterns signpost products to be made, and ventures to be undertaken. Public and private school boards should bear in mind the business significance of questionstorming, and help make questionstorming a part of the learning culture in schools. Teaching critical thinking as a subject is important to fulfilling the business sense of questionstorming.
Igwe works and campaigns to promote critical thinking skills in schools.
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