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The Brainy Business | Understanding the Psychology of Why People Buy | Behavioral Economics

Jul 13, 2018

I am so excited about today’s episode. Why? Because I love questions. I love asking them, being asked them, evaluating them, and looking for new ones. Innovative approaches are all about asking questions. As a “what if” personality type, questions are my jam. I also have an awesome freebie to go along with this.

I talk about my ENTP personality type. My favorite book A More Beautiful Question, and how actionable questions can be used in business. I talk about the right approach to questioning and going from “why” to “what if” to “how.” I talk about questionstorming and how this can help you find innovative questions that lead to innovative answers in your business. Questions are a great tool to think outside the box and come up with business changing answers.

Show Notes

  • [01:48] I am an ENTP which means I'm extroverted, intuitive, thinking, and perceiving. Stats say that between 1% and 3% of the female population is this personality type.
  • [02:26] In MBTI, all of the types have a title to help describe them. The ENTP is known as "the visionary" or "the inventor."
  • [02:33] My strength is understanding the world around me almost immediately, absorbing ideas, and turning possibilities into ideas.
  • [02:48] ENTPs are great at solving problems in unique ways and asking "what if."
  • [03:09] I also have a love of finding the right answer, and I've always been a straight-A student.
  • [03:26] When it comes to brain training what is better? Questions or answers? and Why?
  • [03:33] A More Beautiful Question by Warren Berger is my favorite book.
  • [04:54] A beautiful question is an ambitious yet actionable question that shifts the way we think about something.
  • [06:09] Innovations that came out of beautiful questions include Airbnb, the Cheetah prosthetic leg, Kodak film, Wite-Out, and microwaves.
  • [06:15] The right approach to questioning is to go from Why? to What if? to How?
  • [06:33] Why questions are your big overarching questions. This is where you start from. This is passion and the core of what you do.
  • [07:20] Why do we have to wait for the picture? Is a question that was asked by the daughter of Kodak's founder.
  • [08:09] People who asked these questions change the world. And you can to with a little bit of brain training.
  • [08:20] Our brains are built on habits and rules of thumb which the subconscious uses to make decisions.
  • [08:53] The more habits you let your subconscious brain get used to, the less reason it has to stop and give your conscious brain something to work on – allowing it to be more and more complacent.
    [09:18] I'm going to ask you a few questions about your morning routine…
  • [10:07] These questions refer to places where your subconscious brain has taken over the process.
  • [10:19] Train your questioning muscle with these simple tasks of putting your makeup on with your nondominant hand or taking a different route to work. Change things up and force your brain to pay attention.
  • [11:26] How our brains store and retrieve information.
  • [11:39] The Political Mind: A Cognitive Scientist's Guide to Your Brain and Its Politics and the blue square example.
  • [14:19] What does this have to do with business?
  • [14:57] Brainstorming is taking ideas off the surface but not really digging in.
  • [15:14] To help clients approach problems and think about things from different angles, I recommend the activities from Thinkertoys: A Handbook of Creative-Thinking Techniques.
  • [15:39] Questionstorming is an easy thing to try. The goal is to ask as many questions as possible.
  • [16:37] An example of questionstorming.
  • [18:28] Asking “what if” questions and taking the problem on as your own to shift your thinking.
  • [18:37] Pandora asked “what if” we could map the DNA of music?
  • [18:44] The brainy business “why” question is: Why is behavioral economics a best-kept secret?
  • [18:49] What if I show people why it matters? What if I tell people how it works?
  • [20:31] Becoming a better questioner and linking distant connections.
  • [20:52] The final piece is the “how” question. Keep asking “how” until you get to the final piece that sticks. The trick is to fail and fail often.
  • [22:00] Solving problems means knowing what questions to ask.
  • [23:33] Don't let your fear of finding the perfect question keep you from getting to the right answer.
  • [23:50] It takes many questions to find the path to an answer. Start asking as many questions as you can.
  • [25:14] Helping organizations to ask better questions and look at things in a new way is probably my favorite thing to do.


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