PreRamble: As a strategist, writer and generally curious person, I find that a big part of my day is spent asking questions … What is your goal? … Who is involved? … How did you arrive at that? … How will you achieve your desired outcomes? … What happens when you achieve your goal? … What happens if you don’t achieve your goal? … What are you thinking? … Really?! … Why are you laughing? … etc.
Invariably, one question leads to another, and before you know it, like a Rumba-robo-vac, you’ve trekked around and across the space of a situation and are able to piece the information together into a bigger contextual picture.
Meta-cognition - Imagine my delight to see the bigger contextual picture of the origin of the question mark discussed in the NY Times Sunday Magazine “Innovation Issue: Who Make That?”
In case you were wondering …
There are several theories about the origin of the question mark, but the most widely accepted story credits the eighth-century English monk Alcuin of York. As advisor to Charlemagne, Alcuin promoted the use of standardized punctuation — including the “punctus interrogativus,” a dotted squiggle meant to indicate a question.
Another thought …
The symbol is also thought to originate from the Latin quaestiō (that is, QVAESTIO), meaning “question”, which was abbreviated during the Middle Ages to “qo.” The lowercase q was written above the lowercase o, and this mark was transformed into the modern symbol … [shown above, however apparently, evidence of the actual use of the Q-over-o notation in medieval manuscripts is lacking.]
Either way, asking questions — and listening to the answers — is the best way to surface the unique aspects of a situation (business or otherwise) needed to move it forward into some kind of solution scenario.
The Take-Away: Sometimes the best route to solving a problem isn’t to B-line to a right answer, but to ask more questions.