The Most Important Question in Business: A Perspective from Wisdomsourcing


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If you were to ask one question in business what would it be?

Authors such as Fred Reichheld and Brett Nelson have respectively written about the ultimate and most important question in business. Although their questions deal with the customer, they have not focused on customer experience. This article considers the most important question in business from the perspective of Wisdomsourcing. The methodology and strategy of Wisdomsourcing focus on collaboratively and systematically improving the experiences of customers.

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The Most Important Question in Business: A Perspective from Wisdomsourcing

  1. 1. “THE MOST IMPORTANT QUESTION IN BUSINESS: a perspective from Wisdomsourcing” By Dr. Rod King “What is the most important question in business?” The answer: it depends on whom you ask in the business’s value chain or network. In other words, the answer largely depends on the perspective of the responder. About two years ago, Brett Nelson wrote in an article, “The 20 Most Important Questions in Business.” Nelson, whose article was directed at entrepreneurs, noted that the “single most important question of the bunch” is: What is your value proposition? Fred Reichheld, the author of “The Ultimate Question,” may disagree. To Reichheld, whose main audience consists of CEOs, managers, and business analysts, the Ultimate Question is: How likely is it that you would recommend company X to a friend or colleague? Responses to the Ultimate Question provide information for determining the percentage of customers who are promoters, passives, and detractors as well as the Net Promoter Score (NPS). Given the perspectives of Nelson and Reichheld, what is the most important or ultimate question in business? It is to be noted that the questions of Nelson and Reichheld relate to the customer. However, neither question mentions ‘customer experience.’ Consequently, the perspective of Nelson and Reichheld apparently differs from that of Wisdomsourcing which totally focuses on the customer experience. In Wisdomsourcing, the Most Important Question (MIQ) is: “How to radically improve the *customer experience* of X?” ‘X’ could be a customer, any stakeholder, product, service, business, place, or thing. In order to collaboratively and systematically answer Wisdomsourcing’s MIQ, a Wisdomsourcing Roadmap is used. (see strategy-projects )
  2. 2. In our LinkedIn Wisdomsourcing group with over 200 professionals from all parts of the world, we are now collaboratively and systematically answering the MIQ for ‘crowdsourcing.’ In other words, we are currently focusing on ‘X = Crowdsourcing’ in order to demonstrate use of the Wisdomsourcing Roadmap in real time. Of course, all survey responses and summaries are available online and in real time. The final outputs from the current Wisdomsourcing Project will include disruptive innovation and Blue Ocean strategies as well as innovative business models for crowdsourcing websites. Crowdsourcing was chosen for the first Wisdomsourcing Project because crowdsourcing is the emergent tsunami that has the potential to creatively destruct (a la Joseph Schumpeter) the existing knowledge economy, notwithstanding knowledge workers. I feel that there is about to be a tectonic shift in the way business and project work are done online as well as offline. After all, the main drivers of progress in society are the minimization of pain and the maximization of delight. For people who are strongly concerned about job losses due to the ‘outsourcing’ of knowledge work, I wonder what they’ll think when the crowdsourcing tsunami hits ashore. An increasingly globalized and online economy indicates that the future of knowledge work will be in the domain of crowdsourcing. What then will be our Most Important Question? I guess it will still be, “How to radically improve the *customer experience* of X?” Frankly, I don’t know what the critical ‘X’ will be. Time will certainly reveal the most critical ‘X.’ But, there’s one thing that I know, I’ll still be using the Wisdomsourcing Roadmap to find my way in a crowdsourced economy. Lest I forget ... from your perspective, what do you consider to be the most important question in business? I look forward to hearing your views. In the meantime, best. Rod.