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Dumb Questions Lead To Interesting Results

Conversations are exploration. You never know where they can go.

I was interviewing Philipp Bouteiller, the German social psychologist who was somehow selected to be the CEO of the new city development that’s going to eventually go up in place of Berlin TXL airport, in South Korea last month when he broke out with this quote:

“I can ask some really dumb questions, and these dumb questions lead to really interesting results.” 

I laughed. I know this tactic well. 

I call it ‘going fishing.’ I often use it when interviewing someone and I want to provoke an unexpected change of direction. I know that I don’t know what another person knows, so I usually leave some space for them to tell me. 

This usually takes the form of what at first may appear to be a dumb question. 

The travel equivalent is randomly walking down some obscure alley. You have no idea where it’s going to go but there is a chance that it’s going to be interesting.

Filed under: Journalism, South Korea
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