“Garbage in, Garbage out” is a great rule of thumb to keep in mind. The kinds of questions you ask have a tremendous impact on the kinds of solutions you find. If the best question is “How big is it?”, asking “What does it weigh?” may seem like a good question, yet may utterly fail you in the end.
The article is kind of a so-so treatment of the topic, but this line was a good takeaway for me:
“I would take a B student who has fresh questions as a Ph.D. student over a typical overeager A+ student who frets about getting everything right. It is a poorly held secret that some of the very best researchers and innovators were average students.”
Part of the reason that A+ students aren’t great innovators is you get those As by giving “the right answers” according to our current understanding of the topic. B students are more likely to be people saying “But, that doesn’t sound right to me. I have trouble agreeing with that. I think something else is going on.” and thereby failing to regurgitate the “correct” answer. One of my sons likes to call those answers “guessing the teacher’s password” (in other words, knowing what the teacher expects you to say, never mind inconvenient facts that may make that answer suspect).
Einstein perhaps gave the best TLDR of this idea:
No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it.