Making Curiosity a Catalyst for Your Business & Innovation: a case for growth
In one of our older posts, we briefly touched on the topic of curiosity. We were explaining how making our tenants curious during our retreats and day trips we encourage and stimulate them to wish to know more about the surrounding geographical environment and the activities happening in the area. In that post, we were explaining why engaging people in a circle of exploration helps their integration happen in a gentler and more fulfilling way.
From our various projects and experience, we discovered that curiosity is a catalyst for success, development and self-improvement, whether we are speaking about our colleagues in the office or the people we help on a monthly basis. For this reason, in this article we want to share how applying this in our work has improved the environment for our colleagues and the people we help and give some food for thought to why it could be a catalyst for your business.
At the risk of almost sounding cliché, curiosity is becoming a more common topic in the business sector. It has been given more attention lately because the business sector started shifting as well, creating new business models where directors are no longer only focusing on the generated profit, but also at the quality of the working environment and workflow. There is an unquestionable direct link between the working environment and the quality of the work generated by the employees.
Directors from all around the globe have realized the importance of investing in a stimulating working environment. Some have even addressed this and took it further from a discussion point. What has been discovered is that curiosity has been a part of the answer all along.
Our human nature is designed to have impulses that lookout for what we qualify as “interesting”. And whilst the notion of interesting differs from one person to another, by nature, we are curious as we want to know what new experiences feel like, to find out new information, to experience a new feeling etc. It is a human attribute that has shaped what we learnt as children and created and/or invented as adults.
Curiosity is at the foundation of great discoveries.
Most employers are afraid that if employees end up engaged in being curious and exploring the paths of curiosity, they might end up doing less work. Whilst we agree that too much wandering can lead to confusion, the possibility of it doesn’t mean that is the equivalent of “wasting time”. Curiosity means engaging in finding more alternatives, innovating and taking a step back to have the time to explore the solutions and analyse. When given the opportunity to do so, people will engage even more and bring more input into solving problems.
As adults, we rarely take the time to investigate how curiosity occurs and seek new ways to make it happen. Realizing what triggers curiosity and how it makes us feel when it wraps up in the “game” of exploration is key to our self-development.
Any businessman that aims to keep their business on the market and keep making profit needs to know how to innovate and constantly keep evolving with the market. Business development is only happening through the execution and the hard work of the staff, therefore, staff development. Keeping a healthy workplace that allows self and professional growth, means having an environment that awakens the thirst of curiosity in their employees. By doing so, the staff will always perform better rather than just executing the same things repeatedly. Whilst routine helps to perfect the skills, curiosity helps acquire new ones.
You might know that we are working with people from different backgrounds, and a lot of them are vulnerable. Periodically, we go on trips and retreats with our tenants. This initiative and approach are both due to our different understandings of what integration means and our view on how curiosity can change the course of our life and the thoughts we have. We want the trips to stimulate the tenants to want to learn new things, to engage in new activities and learn about the culture and the place around them through curiosity.
The type of curiosity we are referring to is known as state curiosity. This type of curiosity is triggered by external factors. Something makes us curious only if we consider we can derive an outcome from it, or it fascinates us in ways that make us want to know more. The simple fact that curiosity keeps our minds engaged is helping our brain wire different connections that construct new meanings, new possibilities.
Moreover, it has been proved through research that the lack of curiosity is linked to negative emotions (Rodrigue, et al), those being a key element in the chain leading to depression.
Spending most of our time during the day in the office means that the way we experience life is directly proportional to how our professional life is evolving.
The point of this article is to bring more arguments to why you need to bring your input and make the workspace more stimulating. Whilst curiosity is great in helping us expand our knowledge and skills, the different layers to it may also make it seem scary.
Curiosity needs to be encouraged and be shown support when someone is scared to be navigating alone. It needs to be a team exercise and be shown appreciation from everyone from management to operational positions.
Allowing ourselves to be curious, whether in our personal or professional lives, helps us build resilience to uncertainty and failure because by engaging into new things we are putting ourselves up for a challenge that has unknown outcomes. In business, it’s important to be capable to take risks and still have confidence when things go wrong, and that’s why curiosity is necessary.
Curiosity teaches people how to get out of their comfort zones and do that from their own will and on their own terms. By not venturing out to learn and discover new things, we are falling back into the comfortable positions of making small decisions that lead to small outcomes (a lot of the times).
Although not everyone might react to the same stimuli and be so comfortable in venturing and throwing themselves in uncomfortable and challenging positions, it is good to have creative and stimulating alternatives at work. If you read all this and you still unsure of the benefits, here is the last thought we have:
It might surprise you how making people curious can help you innovate your business whilst changing their lives.