UCLA Extension

The Art of Conversation: How Innovative Questions Yield Ideal Outcomes

Course No. C5, Period 3

Taught by a former student of the Technical Management Program, this course teaches you how one CIO successfully applied skills learned in the program and eventually wrote The New IQ with his UCLA instructor, Chris Coffey.

The main concept presented in the book is called Safe Space and teaches students how to use Innovative Questions to create better outcomes. These Innovative Questions are The New IQ. Directly from the book, the definition of an innovative question is:

Using a question or making a statement to open a Safe Space for you and your conversational partners to make better decisions. An Innovative Question has the following characteristics:

  1. It gets people to pause and think.
  2. It often leads to an ‘aha moment.’
  3. It is focused on getting to an Ideal Final Result.

Innovative Questions are very simple. Use a question, make a statement, or use one of the models we’ve defined to open a space for your conversational partners to make better decisions in reaching each Ideal Final Result. By using Innovative Questions, you not only create a more positive perception of you, team members are more able and willing to implement a joint vision and do it happily. Finally, by asking questions that change the perception that others have of you, you will be more readily able to turn conflict into positive outcomes.

Using methodologies created by Chris Coffey (the creator of Innovative Questions, the co-author of the book, and a former UCLA extension TMP instructor), David will show you how these life-changing methods actually work and how they can provide a framework for implementing the other skills you learn at TMP. In this class, you are being taught by a fellow student who has applied what the other instructors are teaching at TMP and a student who can testify to the benefits of being here at TMP.

Lam_DavidDavid Lam, CISSP

Vice President, Technology Management Services, Citadel Information Group

David Lam has 27 years of experience managing information for small and medium businesses including custom software development, systems management and information security. As a former CIO and Chief Information Security Officer, David brings a holistic and highly integrated view of technology services to his day-to-day work. David has worked as a consultant, for a university, for a nonprofit and in the corporate realm.

Mr. Lam is a Certified Six Sigma Black Belt from ASQ and has also achieved ITIL Foundations, CNE, MCSE, CCNA, CCDA and Network+ certifications. David holds a bachelor’s degree from UCLA and while there was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. He has taught multiple college extension classes and has presented at numerous conferences on technology, information security and physical security.  David works to build the information security community through the Los Angeles ISSA, where he is currently vice president, and through the ASIS Information Technology Security Council (ITSC) where he chairs the Certification subcommittee. David chairs the Los Angeles ISSA Information Security Summit. David also runs the Los Angeles CISO forum.

David has also been published multiple times in the ISSA Journal and on Tom’s IT Pro. He has written the Information Security chapters for the ASIS Protection of Assets Manual with Dr. Stahl and is now working on a Leadership Book called Innovative Questions.


The course really helped me identify areas for improvement in terms of my engagement with others during conversation. Specifically, it set me on a course to help people come to a solution without just solving the problem for them.”
– Raschel Muse, Senior Product Manager, Guidance Software