How Can We Use Questioning to Create Methodologies That Solve Any Problem?

Get curious about innovative methodologies with Adolfo Espíritu as he applies his curiosities about methodologies in the third part in a series on methodologies, curiosity, and more for the Corporation of Tomorrow.

The Socrative method is a teaching technique invented by Socrates; its focus is to produce knowledge through questions. He said that he only knew that he does not know anything, which can mean a couple of things: he realized that knowing more let him realize that there was more to be known, so he became aware of his ignorance, or he understood his not knowing was the main driver for making questions, which provoked deeper thinking, to reconsider assumptions, resulting in new insights that produced better knowledge.

What if this same technique can be used for developing approaches and improving critical thinking because it can establish hypothetical but possible scenarios which need to be solved?

Questions can open any door and explore any possible outcome, and so by describing it one can generalize it and propose a systematic approach to solve the problem.

For tackling a challenge, the very first step is to understand the problem: Why does this problem exist?

By starting to do research, it is important to stop knowing and doing, and just absorb information regarding the context. Then, you need to challenge your suppositions and gather evidence to prove whether your guesses are right or wrong. Next, once you have a good understanding of the problem, you can start developing a solution to it.

Questions help you have a first guess of where to look for a solution to your problem.

A simple question as how to (your problem)? gives you an idea of how others have approached the problem (if you cannot understand the solution it is because you need to either recheck your understanding of the problem or go deeper into the properties of the chosen methodology).

In this step of choosing the approach is where questioning can help us to develop new approaches. For example, by understanding the essence of the problem, using questions can help you to generalize and aim to solve it (this approach is used in the TRIZ methodology). By doing that, a reliable method is created that solve your problem and similar ones. To conclude, systematic approaches are born by making the right questions about the problem, and we aim to have these because we can solve a variety of problems with the same solution.

Finally, there is another approach which helps you solve problems better, which is the systemic approach. What has been described here is the systematic approach, which can be understood as a logical sequence of steps to be done to solve your problem, but by combining these two, the quality of your solution can improve significantly. For more information check the references.

I hope that I convinced you during my six entries of the importance of questioning and as a mean to solve any problem. With this approach, I seek to answer Matt’s question in the next entry What if curiosity can help you approximate the future? Stay tuned for the series of answers.

For further reference check:

We'll be exploring questions like these live with curious people from all over the world to connect and collaborate in building the Corporation of Tomorrow (along with the School of Tomorrow), today!

Adolfo Arana Espíritu Santo is a student at the Monterrey Institute of Technology & Higher Learning and loves getting curious about, Math, Physics, and Quantum Computers.

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Cover image: Marcello Bacciarelli - Alcibiades Being Taught by Socrates