The other day I had an interesting experience as I flew home from the Annual Academic Chairpersons Conference. I was flying with my department chair, Dr. Kody Kuehnl, and we were writing out a list of all of the things that we had learned during the conference. As we talked, we kept asking: What did we learn at this conference that could be useful in our work at Franklin University? It was late at night and we were both tired. There were a few times when it seemed that we had identified everything we could think of, but we kept asking the question. And each time we asked the question, we came up with a new answer, something that was useful and better and could be applied to our work to create positive change.
This reminded me of a lunch meeting I had with a friend who had an instructional design problem. He was struggling with how he might design a piece of instruction for a particular organization, and every time we asked the question, we came up with answers that did not fit the needs of the organization. I have noticed that normally at this point, most people give up and move on to other conversation topics, but we kept asking the same question - how can we design this course so that it meets the needs of the organization? Some time near the end of our lunch meeting, I had an insightful idea that seemed to materialize from an area of my mind that I had not accessed before. It seemed to emerge as an answer to the problem, almost as if the answer came from someone else.It was a solution that solved the problem and allowed my friend to move forward with his design.
Keep Asking the Question
So, what problem do you need to solve? What would you like to create? What answer do you need? Often it is a matter of simply asking the question again and again until the right answer comes. If the answer does not come, keep asking and you will be surprised what your mind teaches you.