Curiosity Feeds Innovation: Building a Culture of Curiosity

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“I have no special talents. I am only passionately curious.”

Albert Einstein

How many of your employees would say they are curious about their jobs, what’s next in the company, about how to solve challenges they see exit or offer new ideas to their leadership? How about you? Are you curious about what’s next or are you fearful of what’s next? Curiosity insights change while fear may paralyze many leaders. The curious seeks out what’s next and abolishes status quo. Even the Maintainers, (see Fast Company article) which focuses on values of upkeep, repair, and sustainable labor, promote a curious mind-set. Growth, professionally, organizationally and personally, period, is about being curious.

Curiosity helps drive successfulinnovations, however, innovation as shiny buzzwords, hinders a creative, curious and innovative culture. Lee Vinsel, co-author of The Innovation Delusion describes it well “We like to make a distinction between what we call actual innovation and what we call innovation-speak, and innovation-speak is this way of thinking and talking about technological and business change that’s developed in the last 50 years or so.” he goes on to share “There’s two problems. The first is that it doesn’t produce results, necessarily. We’re talking more and more about innovation, but there’s no evidence that there is more and more innovation. And meanwhile, it also distracts us from really crucial things in our culture, including just the work of keeping things going and the people who do that work.”

2020, The Year That Skipped A Year

There are great benefits to building a Culture of Curiosity. Some people have become either far more curious others far more fearful (thus paralyzed) in 2020 this year that skipped a year. Curious people are typically survivors: seeking better outcomes, new ideas, better ways, more personal growth in times of uncertainty. In my daily work, there is not a day that goes by where the conversations eventually turn to, “this has been a great time for reflection on life, work and family; reassessing how the future will be lived and loved.

It’s also easy to see how fear is prolific today. For the curious, fear feeds their curiosity to discover and continue to move forward. For others, the fear looks like a lion, charging out of the woods ready to chase them down for dinner. How can we channel the fear and leverage curiosity to feed you? What are the benefits to you and your organization to build a Culture of Curiosity?

Building a Culture of Curiosity

  • Encourage explorationHBR Article, Why Curious Matters – “seeking efficiency is often to the detriment of exploration”
  • Embrace diversity – of thought and of human talent!
  • Embrace healthy debates – challenge the process
  • Build a growth-mindset culture – allow for personal and professional development. Opening up to offering your staff opportunities to explore personal interests for growth as well as company sponsored learning and development will open the door to new and curious ways of thinking.

Benefits

  1. Did you know that curious people are happy people? By simply being growth-minded and exploring new things as simple as learning to make sourdough bread (trust me, this is not as easy as it may seem- things explode and kitchen plumbing can be destroyed) or taking a new online class in a subject you’ve always wanted to learn more about.
  2. The tough get going! “When we are curious, we view tough situations more creatively” HBR Article, Why Curious Matters
  3. Curious people help strengthen relationships so the organization also gets stronger.
  4. Curiosity can fuel productivity and achievement
  5. Curiosity expands heart strings, understanding more of what is going on in the environment, relating to people, can be highly intuitive and have more empathy toward people. Open mindedness to other view-points is a healthy curiosity and opens the doors to new ideas, and ways to solve problems.
  6. Curious people are healthier – Research out of Berkeley

What changes can you make today to build a strong or stronger Culture of Curiosity?

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