ASK POWERFUL 
QUESTIONS
ASK POWERFUL 
QUESTIONS
MAGNUS WOOD
ASK POWERFUL 
QUESTIONS
ASK POWERFUL 
QUESTIONS
MAGNUS WOOD 
The ability to ask, and answer, powerful questions separates those people and businesses who have a significant impact on the world from mediocre incrementalists.

Elon Musk has asked himself two powerful questions that he is answering with Tesla and SpaceX:

Tesla: how do we reduce our dependency on carbon fuels?

SpaceX: how do we give humanity a future by colonising Mars?

If those questions don’t make you humble about the problems you face and the opportunities you seek, then I don’t know what will.

Success begins with powerful questions. What do millions of people want? Why do we have to do things this way? How can I assemble a ‘dream team’ to move further faster?

If I am helping to create a change of any kind, I always start with the most powerful questions I can - usually of the “why does it have to be this way” variety.

Here are some of the questions I use to help people and businesses get unstuck and create accelerated change:

Questions when businesses are stuck:

Where are we now?

Ideally, where would we like to be in the future?How did we get to where we are today?

What should we stop doing immediately?

What should we start doing immediately?

What creative, convention challenging, possibilities are there for us to get to where we want to be?

How do we get started today?

How do we stay on track?

Questions to connect with people who want help in changing:

What are your biggest problems, and how can I help?

What opportunities are lying on the table that you need help in bringing to life?

Questions to sharpen you up:

What secrets do you know that are of value to millions?

What is the most important thing you can focus on now, to move forward?

What was your biggest fear that never came true?

What has surprised you the most in life?

What’s your ‘hidden power’?

If money was no object and you knew that you couldn’t fail - what would you do, right now?

Questions to connect with people:

What problems does this person have, that I could help them with?

What are their dreams, that I could help them with?

How could I be part of their ‘dream team’ in supporting them achieve their goals?

What are their passions?

How can I uniquely add value to their life and/or business?

Questions when telling a story:

What does the main character in my story want in order to restore balance to her world?

What are the forces that are stopping this happening?

What is stopping my main character from achieve his desire?

How has she tried in the past, and failed?

What would it take to jolt my main character into action; to begin the quest to restore balance in his world?

What trials and problems does she encounter on the way?

What are the key factors that help create a successful resolution - the restoration of balance in his world?

Is my story believable?

Will my audience enjoy it?

Will they learn from it?

Will it inspire them?

The questions I ask myself every day

First thing: What are the problems I am solving for people today?

During the day: Am I being productive, or just active?

At the end of the day: What is essential right now, to move forward?
WHAT THE DEATH OF A PRESIDENT TELLS US ABOUT ADLAND TODAY
WHAT THE DEATH OF A PRESIDENT TELLS US ABOUT ADLAND TODAY
WHAT THE DEATH OF A PRESIDENT TELLS US ABOUT ADLAND TODAY
WHAT THE DEATH OF A PRESIDENT TELLS US ABOUT ADLAND TODAY
On December 13, 1799, George Washington woke up with a sore throat. 
  
A firm believer in the curative value of bloodletting, he asked his physicians to bleed him.

In 16 hours they drained 7 of his 10 pints of blood and he duly died from hypovolemic shock on December 17. 

William Harvey, the man who described the systemic circulation and properties of blood, had been sceptical about bloodletting as early as 1628. So how was it that bloodletting survived as a treatment for so long when patients so often didn't? 

Physicians and patients were caught in the trap of path dependence; when doing things the way they've always been done, regardless of change, justifies carrying on. 

Agencies today are as path dependent as physicians of 200 years ago and it's killing their patients too. 

That clients turned to agencies for ideas is an accident of history. 

Originally media middlemen, agencies found that doing words and pictures with the buying made earning commission a lot easier. This discovery set the pattern for the future. To justify margin, add a new discipline to the mix. 

‘Marketing' came next (until clients realised this was too important to leave in the hands of middlemen and brought it in house), followed by 'research', print, promotions, TV, outdoor, experiential, channel marketing, shopper marketing, trade shows, brand design, brand management... 

And now there’s 'digital', with agencies rushing to pull on as many of the emperor's new clothes as fast as Silicon Valley can stitch them together. 

The remedy? 

A way of working that's focussed purely on producing great ideas. 

One that lets clients draw directly from a deep, wide pool of creativity and that's not buried in an agency silo or constrained by their dependence on the 'new'. 

And, most importantly, a way to buy ideas that promotes cooperation and trust.