Hypothesis generation questions require conceiving of possible explanations for the events we observe and the environment in which we are operating. They focus on present and past events, in which key uncertainties tend to be observational, and often implicitly lead to the formulation of options. Hypothesis generation questions include questions like: Why has our productivity fallen? Or, How can a new piece of equipment be used?
These kind of questions require us to imagine possibilities and as such are best served by using creative techniques to answer them, such as structured brainstorming or question laddering. In answering hypothesis generation questions we should seek to generate the broadest possible range of explanations, without worrying about which are likely to be true. Filtering these possibilities based on likelihood is the primary purpose of hypothesis testing questions.