A disruptive question

Posted January 16, 2015

New Years is behind us and many of us have probably already made and broken our annual resolution. In fact 30% of people give up in the first two weeks of the year and over half will have fallen off track by June. Given how quickly we seem to fall down on our resolutions, it makes me wonder why we continue to set them. Why do we make goals that we know we won’t achieve? Or maybe the better question is are resolutions the right way to go about achieving a goal or vision?

This year I have seen a number of articles that ask that we not set resolutions but that we take other approaches. This article in the New York Times suggests that instead of a resolution we set a personal Mission Statement, one that becomes a “guiding principal for how you want to live your life”. In Fast Company they talk about “formulating a “beautiful question” – one that is bold and engaging enough to keep you working on it”.

Both these ideas tie back to the same principal and that is the idea that we all need to understand the motivation behind our actions and decisions. We are inspired when there are greater visions behind what drives us. Personally I love the idea of the beautiful question. As researchers the ILLUME team thrives in an environment that is focused on seeking answers to both common and complex questions. In opening ILLUME we did so in answer to the question “Can we make work better?”

As we take ILLUME forward I love the idea of being guided by that beautiful question – one that pushes us each day – so that we are doing more to live up to our mission.

So what is our beautiful question? Coming out of our first annual staff retreat there is one word that continues to repeat in my mind and that is “disruptive”. At ILLUME we seek to break the mold, not only for what it means to place every day human needs and aspirations at the center of energy program research, design and planning, but what it means to create a culture that supports and inspires its people, what it means to be an employer, and what it means to have success as an employee. So when I ponder what beautiful question will drive this for us in 2015 for me it is simple, it is this:

“How might we disrupt the status quo today?”

Whether the question be in the context of a project, how we support our team, our approach to our business, how we present data or the manner in which market ourselves, I want to be sure that we do so with a willingness to be different. I want us to push boundaries and to never accept the status quo as good enough. I want to be certain that when the year ends we will have sparked change in our work, our industry and our people.

What is your beautiful question?