We were on a hotel site visit to scout the location for a client conference. Beyond meeting with the client team, we spent considerable time with the hotel staff. The objective was to solicit their innovative ideas for how to create the highest impact in a challenging conference space.


While we developed ideas for high-impact options, we wanted the experts at the hotel to share their ideas. With that situation, we wanted to ask plenty of questions and provide plenty of room for them to contribute their experience-based, innovative ideas.

9 Strategic Thinking Questions - Innovative Ideas from Experts

Many of the strategic thinking questions we develop help people imagine things that have never happened. The following nine strategic thinking questions that we used with the hotel staff were meant to get them to mine their previous experiences and aspirations to generate innovative ideas we could incorporate into the meeting:

  1. What are things you have been dreaming about or trying to figure out how to do, but haven't had a chance yet?
  2. What are outlandish things you tried but didn't work as you expected?
  3. What things have worked, and how would you like to do more of or do them in a bigger way?
  4. What are things you've seen elsewhere we should consider trying?
  5. What's something no one in our audience will have seen happen before?
  6. How have you thought about reimagining a familiar something or other?
  7. What are things you've done elsewhere you would like to try here?
  8. What have you done in a completely different setting that might work for what we're doing?
  9. What cool things haven't we asked about that we should consider?

Whenever you're dealing with experts and looking for innovative ideas, consider these strategic thinking questions (or variations on them) to help them not do as so many experts do: dismiss what they know as routine and normal, when in fact normal for an expert is often quite innovative and sensational for everyone else! - Mike Brown

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