The importance of asking the right questions

The importance of asking the right questions

The importance of asking the right questions: Especially if you are a data scientist. We live in a world that values answers. We were taught in school to learn how to answer questions in exams.

We live in a world that values answers. We were taught in school to learn how to answer questions in exams, we were conditioned to go to work knowing that we need to have the answers and our society, by and large, focuses on finding the solutions rather than figuring out if we are asking the right questions. Just like most people who have been through the traditional education system and started working in a corporate job, I was trained to have the answers, I was taught that my contribution and value lie in my ability to solve problems by knowing the right answers. While I do think that problem solving and the ability to find the right answers is a valuable skill to have, I would like to shed some light on the importance of the skill that precedes it, the skill of asking the right questions.

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Questions and answers are by definition linked together but they are a very different skillset. Seeking answers is a process of elimination through research and experimentation, trying to piece together different information and narrow things down to a solution. But asking questions is a process of expansion through critical thinking and imagination. It is understandable why as a society we don’t value the cost of asking the right questions because in some way the more questions we ask, the more work we need to do and the further away we are from finishing what we need to do. This creates a systemic problem that favours short term patches over long term solutions.

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