“Stuck in an idea rut? Maybe you should hire a Senior Vice President of Continuous Curiosity!” – Futurist Jim Carroll
Let’s talk about curiosity, or rather, the stunning lack of it in many organizations!
Some years back, the drug company Merck released the First International Curiosity Study – it was a great report! (I’m curious as to where the second one is, 3 years later….)
- Some of the findings?
more than 8 out of 10 people agreed that “a curious person is more likely to bring an idea to life at work”
- even so, innately curious – only 20% did!
- instead, the majority described themselves as ‘organized, collaborative and detail-oriented’
- curiosity came in 12th place on a list of attributes! (funny and talkative beat out curiosity, if you can believe it!)
How did the study define curiosity? Inquisitiveness, creativity, openness…
- The result of the lack of curiosity is kind of staggering: buried away in the report are these gems:
- 73% of those surveyed did not feel comfortable in asking more questions at work
- 50% in Germany indicated that they feel discouraged by their employee from changing the status quo!
- only 9% felt that the organizations they worked for were “extremely encouraging’ of curiosity
- 61% indicated that the organization was not at all encouraging at all, or only somewhat encouraging
Gosh, these results are pretty sad! Pathetic, really!
Here’s what it means: many organizations, in the face of rapid business model, technological, competitive, social and political change, would prefer that their staff simply remain in a drone-like state, focused on getting things done, rather than figuring out now to do things better!
What should we do with the observations from such a study?
Clearly, since we know that curiosity is at the root of much of innovation, the ideas should be obvious for anyone with a curious mind: hire someone to fire up your curiosity!
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