There really is a killer question card deck ….

As a result of the twitter feed of killer questions, I’ve received a number of emails asking about the background on the killer questions.  Since it seems like of a topic of interest, I thought I would give you some insight into how they came about …

  Is there really a physical deck of killer questions? Yes – there really is a killer question card deck. My printed (original)deck contains about 50 questions (as you see in the picture).

What was the motivation?  I’ve been fortunate to be part of teams that created some great products.  During my 1st retirement (1999-2001), I was asked by a number people “how did I come up with the ideas?”.  I never really thought about the “how” – it just seemed to happen … so I spent three years reverse engineering how breakthrough innovations are conceived and launched.

What role does questions play in creating breakthrough innovations?  What I found during my research was that the quality of the innovation is directly tied to the quality of the pool ideas (no big surprise).  The key to improving the quality of the ideas is to improve the quality of the questions being asked during ideation (the big aha!).  What my research also discovered was that there are set of common questions that come up over and over again as being key to breakthrough innovations.  Those are the questions in the deck.

After spending +3 years developing the original questions and now +6 years of using them, what have you learned?  After 100’s of workshops and brainstorming sessions using the killer questions, I’m convinced that anyone can improve their ability to create better ideas by asking the right questions.

Have you added new questions since you created the original deck? I’ve added another 25 or so that are in my moleskin but not yet fully integrated into the deck.  If you have questions you would like to suggest, email them to me.

Is the deck available for download?  Not yet … I’m in the middle of an update to make it easier to select the “right” question based on the innovation value you are looking to achieve.  Until then, your best option is to subscribe to the twitter feed.


Do you have a favorite killer question?

Join The Innovators Community

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

4 thoughts on “There really is a killer question card deck ….

  1. Hi Phil,
    Excellent post and I’ve subscribed to the Twitter feed version.
    Readers may also be interested in the ‘Oblique Strategies’ card deck produced by Brian Eno and Peter Schmidt:
    Also, inspired by this, I produced a set of ‘Oblique Marketing Strategies’ a couple of years ago:
    This is also available as an interactive tool from my company website:

  2. Look forward to the update. I enjoy catching the Tweets and the podcasts area great. Listen to them repeatedly on the Skytrain ride to work. Always able to catch a new nugget but look forward to a downloadable version for reference.

Comments are closed.