It’s tempting to believe that innovation will arrive in the form of a lightning bolt flash of inspiration. And maybe for Ben Franklin it did happen that way. But waiting for the perfect storm is a slow route to change. If storm clouds aren’t gathering on your horizon, try a more sure-fire route to innovation. Ask yourself – and everyone around you – some problem-finding questions.

Finding an innovative solution starts with recognizing a good problem to solve. Here are 10 of our favorite questions for problem finding.

  1. Where are the bottlenecks?
  2. What red tape could be eliminated?
  3. What goals do we never meet?
  4. What is the most likely problem we will face three years from now?
  5. What is the most likely problem our customers will face three years from now?
  6. What minor problem could grow into a bigger one?
  7. What would make us happy?
  8. What turf wars are hindering progress?
  9. What will be our biggest opportunity three years from now?
  10. What will be the biggest opportunity for our customers three years from now?

Hopefully these questions will help you tackle roadblocks to creative problem solving. They will help you determine whether you’re focused on the right problem in the first place.

Do you have a great problem finding question? I’d love to hear it.