“The cure for boredom is curiosity. There is no cure for curiosity.” Dorothy Parker
Which letter in the alphabet is most commonly used? How many people in the US are left-handed? What natural food is the only one that never spoils? Unless you’re a linguist, a medical researcher, or a food chemist, you probably have no clue and might be curious to know the answers (see below*).
Today’s advancements in modern technology have placed a premium on intellectual curiosity and learnability. Our willingness to adapt to the demands of an ever-developing world is essential to building a fulfilling, successful career. Living curious also reduces our bias and prevents stereotyping.
When we’re curious, or “eager to know or learn something,” we create space to explore complex challenges. It keeps us from reacting to problems in ways that are counterproductive and allows us to imagine possibilities.
So, how can you inspire your team (while also inspiring yourself) to live curious? The following suggestions will help you nurture a culture of wonder, awe, and creativity.
Look outside of your office walls and engage in activities that inspire your goals. Take a trip to a museum to observe how a new collection of art is presented; you might come away with some new marketing ideas. Spend an afternoon at your local airport and put your people-watching skills to work as you practice building persona profiles. Visit a nearby town with trendy shops, paying special attention to the signage and displays. Improving your problem-solving skills, expanding your awareness, and practicing immersive empathy are often the serendipitous result of new experiences, and you’ll return to your workplace with a refreshed perspective.
Challenge Your Assumptions
When we think outside of our own experience, we’re able to see even the most complicated situations with new eyes. Think of an obstacle that is hindering you from reaching a business goal. Prompt your team to ask “why” questions and spend some time reflecting inwardly. Then brainstorm possible solutions by asking “what if” questions together. It’s a great way to level up your performance and facilitate breakthroughs.
Creativity originates with a question, both about concepts and people. Dale Carnegie, an American writer and lecturer said, “You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you.” No matter your industry, interpersonal relationships are essential for professional success. Asking questions is one of the best ways to begin! (Don’t forget to listen attentively to the answers.)
Reward Continuous Learning
Learning is one of the practical ways that curiosity can show up in your day. Make learning memorable by motivating your team to connect their personal interests with your business goals. At Rule29, each team member has an initiative to contribute to the betterment of our team, clients, and community. For example, our Green Initiative motivates us to protect the Earth by reducing our environmental impact through recycling, tracking our carbon footprint, and educating our employees and clients, all while continuing to provide our clients with world-class design.
Give Meaningful and Constructive Feedback
We all have blind spots, and we are often only as good as our teammates. Prioritize honesty by scheduling opportunities for creative critique, strategy brainstorming, and quarterly reviews. Unified teams are forged in climates that nurture critical thinking and encourage speaking up, even when that challenges authority. Teams that trust each other stick together.
Curiosity is essential to creative expression, job satisfaction, and strong interpersonal relationships. As a Bersin report pointed out: “The single biggest driver of business impact is the strength of an organization’s learning culture.” The best teams are marked by inquisitive interest and the desire to investigate. Be creative–stay curious!
*The letter E is the most commonly used letter in the alphabet.
*Ten percent of people in the US are left-handed.
*Honey is the only natural food that never spoils.