August 8, 2014

Innovation & the Power of Inquiry, with Warren Berger

Author and journalist Warren Berger joins us for the 26th episode of “The Innovation Engine” podcast to discuss the transformative power asking the right questions can have for businesses. We take a look at the five most important questions any business leader should know the answer to and discuss examples of billion dollar companies that were borne from seeking answers to seemingly simple questions.

Among the topics we discuss are why framing questions with “What if…” or “How might we…” can help vastly expand the world of possible solutions to a problem. These simple questions can help unlock deep insights for businesses that can be easy to miss when everyone is wrapped up in their daily routines. Warren discusses how companies like Procter & Gamble used questioning to create their Coast brand of soap in response to the thrashing it was taking from Irish Spring. He also talks about how companies like Nest and Airbnb were created by founders who simply saw the world as it was and asked, “Why not?”

Warren’s most recent book, A More Beautiful Question: The Power of Inquiry to Spark Breakthrough Ideas, was named one of Business Insider’s “20 Best Business Books to Read This Summer.” It has received acclaim from NY Times and Wall Street Journal best-selling author Daniel Pink and pioneer of the Lean Startup movement Eric Ries. A number of resources related to the book can be found on the book’s website at

Warren’s thoughts on innovation and related topics can be found in notable publications like Wired, the New York Times, Fast Company, the Harvard Business Review, and the Wall Street Journal. He’s also the author of CAD Monkeys, Dinosaur Babies and T-Shaped People: Inside the World of Design Thinking and How It Can Spark Creativity and Innovation and Glimmer: How Design Can Transform Your World.

Highlights from the discussion with Warren Berger:

  • Warren reveals the 5 most important questions that he believes it’s vital for any business leader to know the answer to.
  • We talk about the best way to frame questions to get the best results possible.
  • Warren talks about how Gatorade was created in response to a football coach asking, “Why aren’t my players urinating more?”
  • He gives some real-world examples of billion-dollar companies like Airbnb and Nest that were created in response to answer seemingly simple questions.
Listen to the Episode

Interested in hearing more? Tune in to the full episode of “The Innovation Engine” podcast below:

About The Innovation Engine

Since 2014, 3Pillar has published The Innovation Engine, a podcast that sees a wide range of innovation experts come on to discuss topics that include technology, leadership, and company culture. You can download and subscribe to The Innovation Engine on Apple Podcasts. You can also tune in via the podcast’s home on Spotify to listen online, via Android or iOS, or on any device supporting a mobile browser.