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Beyond the Obvious

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Beyond the Obvious

Killer Questions That Spark Game-Changing Innovation


15 min read
10 take-aways
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What's inside?

A method to the madness of innovation is at hand and anyone can learn to exploit it.

Editorial Rating



  • Innovative
  • Applicable


You can be as creative as Pablo Picasso or as innovative as Steve Jobs – or close – no matter who you are. Just follow the practical new-ideas system developed by “Innovation Guru” Phil McKinney, formerly a chief technology officer at Hewlett-Packard. His step-by-step innovation guidelines help you out-innovate your competitors, and develop new products and services. getAbstract finds his methods helpful for those competing in today’s “creative economy,” where great ideas are the hottest currency.


Question Everything

To innovate, think about the world in new ways. Ask “Killer Questions” to uncover fresh information and insights that will enable your company to develop great ideas that others miss. Killer Questions let you take an unbiased outsider’s perspective by moving beyond your comfort zone and questioning everything about your company and its methods. Ask your customers and your prospects these three groups of Killer Questions, the “Who, What and How”:

1. Who Are Your Customers and Prospects?

Do not assume that you know or can define your customers – who they are, what matters to them and what they want from the marketplace. Your clients’ motivations may surprise you. Effective marketers learn everything they can about potential and actual customers, including what criteria they apply to purchases. As you “explore, observe [and] ask,” investigate your standing with three different groups – your customers, potential customers and people who should buy your product but don’t – by asking these questions:

  • “Who is using my product in a way I never intended – and how?” – You and your colleagues make tacit assumptions about...

About the Author

Phil McKinney is the former chief technology officer of Hewlett-Packard’s Personal Systems Group, where he led strategic planning and R&D for the firm’s PC product lines.

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