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Creative Problem Solving Techniques Library: Why? Repeatable questions

Asking why?

Repeatedly drives parents nuts; I asked it all the time. ‘Because I say so’. Was too often the response.

In business we are asked to repeat this question over and over again. I have experience of it. Decades ago a manager at Krison Printing in North London used it, citing Dexion and how by repeatedly asking ‘why?’ to a problem the inventor came up with some shelving system (or was it pallets?)

It can be made less irritating by setting it in the following parameters:

  • Causation
  • Membership
  • Sequence
  • Frame

The commonest questions are:

  • Why else?
  • Who else?
  • What else?
  • Where else?


Based on VanGundy, A.B. (1988) Techniques of Structured Problem Solving, 2nd ed., Van Nostrand Reinhold, Techniques 3.04, 3.05, 3.10 pp. 49-67, passim.

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