The Power of Questions

Written by Alain de Leonardis • December 30, 2016

To get to the most interesting, and sometimes life-changing answers, we must be willing to ask difficult and sometimes outlandish questions. Challenging the status quo is what drives innovation, fuels creativity and ultimately what moves us forward.

This persistent curiosity has fueled some of the most significant innovations in music.

MIT professor Amar Bose said to his students, “I am not interested in the answers to the problems we assign to you. We already know the answers. In real life you will be asked to solve problems that haven’t yet been posed. Therefore, I am interested in how you approach problems.” He went on to found one of the world’s most successful audio brands.

Lou Ottens, credited with leading the group that developed the compact cassette, has said, “Successful products are created by normal people who just follow their intuition, work hard, make mistakes and work together as a bunch of friends.”

A 16-year-old programmer in Sweden asked himself how to get users to pay for music that was otherwise freely available via illegal downloads. Daniel Ek created Spotify, an online music service with a catalog of over 16 million songs that has leveraged the power of social media to bring together advertisers and over 40 million paid users—with the potential of even more future growth.

The same philosophy that has helped to shape some of the most significant innovations in music mentioned previously also works to develop solutions to produce more and cleaner energy. That’s why Shell is encouraging people to embrace the power of asking questions. Questioning the world is the first step to changing it, and collaborating can accelerate that journey.

Shell has been working with some interesting innovators that have looked at questions that might have previously been answered with a resounding NO. Could your morning coffee help heat your home? Could footsteps help to power your city? Could you drive thousands of miles on less than a gallon of fuel?

But the answer is NOT a resounding NO! Companies like Pavegen and biobean, as well as the Shell Eco-marathon look at energy innovation – be it kinetic, solar, or biofuel - to address exactly these questions.

See how Shell is collaborating with entrepreneurs, engaged citizens, and global communities to look at different bright energy ideas that have been looking to answer the questions above – and finding ways to influence communities around the world with their innovations.

Find out more about how Shell is nurturing the power of questions with the goal to achieving smarter ways of helping communities achieve better access to cleaner energy.

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