How to master the key question 🥇

What's among the most critical points to design and run an excellent (remote) session? A good ice breaker? Reliable technology?

Testimonies from our users are clear: shaping the session's key question is among the most underrated yet important tasks to ensure a great outcome. Many facilitators will spend hours mulling this over with multiple iterations to get it right.

To help you nail this delicate yet critical phase of session design, here is the framework we use to create the perfect key question.

Situation > Complication > Question

This is based on the Situation, Complication, Question method of problem solving and story-telling defined by Barbara Minto [1]. It is a key part of every consultant's toolkit and is a proven way to provide precision and focus with a structure that is simple and easy to comprehend.

Given [situation - incontrovertible fact about the context]
and [complication - the thing that has changed that creates the need for action],
how can we [the thing we want to achieve],
delivering [the quantified outcome]
within [the time period we have to deliver].

For example:

  • Given advancing rocket technology and accelerating climate change, how can we establish communities on Mars with a population of 1m humans within the next 100 years?
  • Given the COVID-19 pandemic and its profound impact on ways of working, how can we sustain and accelerate innovation generating $100m of value over the next three years?
  • Given dad's gluten intolerance and Sophie's veganism, how can we create the perfect Thanksgiving menu, planning three delicious courses within the next 2 weeks?

Remember, it's hard to get a key question right on the first try, You can always get back to it in your session configuration by clicking on 'Session details' on the left-hand side panel to make any edits.

Do you have any other framework or approach you use to craft an amazing key question? Get in touch

Useful resources:

[1] The Pyramid Principle - Barbara Minto


Photo by Emily Morter on Unsplash

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