Cultivating a Culture of Curiosity

Posted by Jon Hall on May 26, 2016

Cultivating_a_Culture_of_Curiosity.jpgIn the previous blogs in this series, we defined creativity and also defined people within the context of creativity. What we haven’t considered, however, is how the term “creativity” plays in the business world.

For some, creativity is something they self-identify as being incapable of embracing or achieving because they can’t “do art.” For others, creativity and business objectives are mutually exclusive; the former being far too ethereal to accomplish the latter. Either way, creativity is often dismissed based on the word’s connotation alone – to the detriment of inventive solutions.

A Curious Thought

Would things be different if the “creativity” label was stripped away in favor of a more approachable term like “curiosity”? No and yes.

On the one hand, there is a major hurdle to adopting breakthrough thinking, regardless of what it’s called, and that’s the corporate structure. Many traditional business practices and functional silos are so rigid or ingrained in the corporate DNA that they simply don’t allow for curious exploration and, by extension, truly creative business solutions.

On the other hand, business people are likely to accept that they are, by nature, curious, as are those around them. After all, being curious requires no special skills or training since it’s an innate human quality. Curiosity is perceived as being more tangible than creativity and, therefore, translates to the black-and-white corporate world and the solutions needed within that context.

It seems, then, that curiosity has value in the workplace only if it’s unfettered from creativity. But, that’s not the case. Curiosity and creativity are both sides of the same coin. There is room – and need – for both in the corporate world, as Steve Jobs so succinctly pointed out in his often quoted 2005 Stanford commencement speech: “Stay hungry [curious]. Stay foolish [creative].”

Making the Shift

All told, cultivating a culture of curiosity isn’t about parsing words, although using selective terminology may prove helpful in bringing people on board to a new way of thinking. 

What’s important is striving to harness the power of curiosity and making it a means to a productive end in business by:

  • Removing the barriers of self-limiting, “I’m not creative” thinking
  • Challenging the assumptions often drawn by veteran staffers and other perils presented by the curse of expertise
  • Fostering thinking beyond the confines of a certain industry or knowledge base in pursuit of inspiration
  • Spurring questions, deeper thought and meaningful discussion
  • Helping bring new challenges – and solutions – to the surface 

The first step in thinking differently about creativity is introducing new tools, like Transforum®. Our online brainstorming platform connects your team with other curious problem solvers at any time, from any place, to generate new ideas and facilitate discussion. What’s more, our Transforum® Brain Trust of highly experienced and knowledgeable thought leaders from a variety of industry backgrounds provide fresh perspectives that push teams beyond conventional thinking. Transforum® is a highly engaging and productive three-day online ideation session that culminates with our working with you to assess the best ideas and turn those ideas into viable concepts.

To find out more about how our Transforum® online brainstorming sessions can help your company harness curiosity and generate breakthrough ideas, download our free case study below or contact us today at 513.226.2212.

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Topics: Transforum, Creativity