"Genius is in-born, may it never be still-born."

"Oysters, irritated by grains of sand, give birth to pearls. Brains, irritated by curiosity, give birth to ideas."

"Brainpower is the bridge to the future; it is what transports you from wishful thinking to willful doing."

"Unless you keep learning & growing, the status quo has no status."

Monday, July 20, 2009


According to Earl Henne, author of 'Mining Your Mind. Do You Mind?,

"Questions are frequently more important than answers because they often define the quality of the answers, & answers often lead to further questions, & they sometimes help relate the seemingly unrelated".

I have often used the Phoenix Checklist of Questions, which has originally been developed by the CIA to encourage their field operatives & intelligent analysts to study a problem or challenge from diferent angles.

Here it is.


- Why is it necessary to solve the problem?
- What benefits will you gain by solving the problem?
- What is the unknown?
- What is it you don’t understand?
- What is the information you have?
- What isn’t the problem?
- Is the information sufficient? or is it insufficient? or redundant? or contradictory?
- Should you draw a diagram of the problem?
- Where are the boundaries of the problem?
- Can you separate the various parts of the problem? can you write them down? what are the relationships of the parts of the problem?
- What are the constants (things that can’t be changed) of the problem?
- Have you seen this problem before?
- Have you seen this problem in a slightly different form?
- Do you know a related problem?
- Try to think of a familiar problem having the same or similar unknown
- Suppose you find a problem related to yours that has already been solved. can you see it? can you use it’s method?
- Can you restate your problem? how many different ways can you restated it? more general? more specific? can the rules be changed?
- What are the best, worst and most probable cases can you imagine?


- Can you solve the whole problem? part of the problem?
- What would you like the resolution to be? can you picture it?
- How much of the unknown can you determine?
- Can you derive something useful from the information you have?
- Have you used all the information?
- Have you taken into account all essential notions in the problem?
- Can you separate the steps in the problem solving process? can you determine the correctness of each step?
- What creative thinking techniques can you use to generate ideas? how many?
- Can you see the result? how many different kinds of results can you see?
- How many different ways have you tried to solve the problem?
- What have others done?
- Can you intuit the solution? can you check the result?
- What should be done? how should it be done?
- Where should it be done?
- When should it be done?
- Who should do it?
- What do you need to do at this time?
- Who will be responsible for what?
- Can you use this problem to solve some other problem?
- What is the unique set of qualities that makes this problem what it is and none other?
- What milestones can best mark your progress?
- How will you know when you are successful?

1 comment:

Tina said...

I think it's awesome that you looked at that book because i did too and ordered a copy. It's more "heady" than to the naked eye but also humorous throughout and gives a different approach to various common thoughts. My only qualm with your "quote" is that it isn't the exact quote..."Questions are frequently more important than answers because they often define the QUALITY of the answers, answers often lead to further questions and they sometimes help relate the seemingly unrelated" is the correct quote which slightly changes your idea/quote. You should buy and read the book as a whole, then give your real thoughts! One reason this book is great is that it's not meant to read in one sitting...lots of ideas wrapped in one cover! Buy it to get the full affect.