Type of record:
  • Micro method
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Ideal innovation phases for this method:
  1. Innovation Phase
  2. 1
  3. 2
  4. 3
  5. 4
  6. 5
  7. 6
  8. 7
  9. 8
  10. 9
  11. 10


Phoenix is a question checklist developed by the CIA to encourage its employees to look at a challenge from as many angles as possible.

We may remember the television detective Columbo, played by Peter Falk. Columbos success in solving criminal cases lay in his way of questioning suspects.

He asked not just one or two questions, but a long series of questions. To ask a single question would be like hoping to understand a wheel by examining a single spoke.

Only the sum of all spokes plus tyre and hub make up the complete wheel. Only the consideration of all elements results in an understanding of the whole. The entire Phoenix Question Checklist can be found in two parts in the implementation of this method.
  • Effective for all innovation types
  • Effective for highly complex challenges
  • Effective for incremental innovations and improvements
  • Effective for medium complex challenges
  • Effective for radical innovations
  • P1 Understanding (identify innovation fields - problem solving)
  • P2 Analysis (problems - challenges - environment - people - products)
  • P4 Synthesize (create leading questions - take a stand)
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