That is my favorite question, as also printed, slogan-like, on my business card.
“What is the question that I should be asking?” is open ended, self-referential, and ju-jitsu-like in putting the person you are talking to in a position that must mimic yours. A facilitator for empathy, and openness. I never fail asking “What is the question that I should be asking?” when I am interviewing somebody, not only for the content of their answer, but for the context, the reaction as well. One of the best starting points in the reaction is “Uhm, that is a nice one!”.
It is also a good tactic in negotiations, to see the attitude of the other party. Are they really trying to find a win-win solution? Is there information that they didn’t realize should have been shared?
So now I am glad to start and spreading this question, and method, and line of thinking. The silly trademark sign on the first occurrence notwithstanding, you are given the rights to use it under a Creative Commons Attribution license! 🙂
Ah, and since the end of the year is approaching, there have been a lot of people who recently came to understand what was the answer that John Brockman gave to himself I assume a few weeks ago, since they now must answer. I cannot wait to know what the question was, and what their answers will be! 🙂