In our second instalment in our series on how can you help make the #AFSTRAT a reality, Luke Webb demonstrates how good questions are key for realising the #AFSTRAT core desires of innovation, creative forces, and a cultural shift in mindset. Follow him on Twitter @lukewebb7
We live in the world our questions create
- David Cooperrider
Questions are creative acts of intelligence.
- Francis Kingdon Ward
As an educator who’s worked in the STEM field with 10,000s of students, I’ve seen first-hand an incredibly powerful technique for driving a shift in mindset and thinking:
It’s been at the core of the Jewish Rabbinical teaching model for 1000s of years, and is a key feature of the Socratic method, too. The Nobel prize-winning Jewish physicist Isidore Rabi attributes his success as a scientist to a daily prompt from his mother: ‘Every other child would come back from school and be asked, “What did you learn today?” But my mother used to ask, instead, “Izzy, did you ask a good question today?”’
At the core of #AFSTRAT is a yearning for a Force of Forces that can rapidly assess the subtle-but-complex shifts in the world around us, and react to reorient itself around these many emerging realities. It’s a pursuit that requires creativity and insight – it requires a constant ability to learn, unlearn, and relearn.
Peter Senge posits that creative tension, essential for building agility and responsiveness, is the "gap between vision and current reality”. I’d suggest that carving out space in the work programs – indeed, in the mental lives – of Air Force practitioners to ask and ponder deeper and deeper questions is a major enabler for any organisation pursuing an innovative edge.
Asking good questions is now recognised as a key part of effective lesson design in the education system and something I’ve seen firsthand as a lynchpin in helping young minds grasp the complexity of the world around us. I’m also convinced it’s a vital capability for building a Force for the future.