Little Bets: How Breakthrough Ideas Emerge From Small Discoveries by Peter Sims

Questions Are the New Answers

  • Peter supports the notion that to enhance creativity, you should focus on immersing yourself in unfamiliar terrain, and to draw on these experiences to come up with fresh ideas. As you explore with a worm’s eye view, ask questions and be open to changing your assumptions. Here the worm’s eye view beats the bird’s eye view. For example, the Pixar team took several scuba diving trips while working on Finding Nemo. Exemplar innovators closely observe details of other people’s behavior. It helps to have insatiable curiosity.
  • Some people are voracious questioners. While four-year-olds are constantly asking questions, after two years of school they stop as they learn that teachers are looking for the right answers and not provocative questions. Schools focus on conveying knowledge at the expense of nurturing the ability to constantly learn. Montessori schools are noted for emphasizing self-directed learning. It should be no surprise that a disproportionate number of Montessori alumni are top innovators. (Brin, Page, Bezos, Jobs, e.g.) The message for parents is to support a child’s natural pursuits while stressing work ethic and quality. Fostering a questioning mind is likely to produce a growth mindset. Let them act like an anthropologist so they can uncover questions that will lead to invaluable insights.
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