What is Curiosity?

"Curiosity is the wick in the candle of learning."
- William Arthur Ward

After watching the video, reflect on the questions below and put a comment on this post with your answers.

  1. As a Creative Catalyst what change do you want to make happen?
  2. How will you know if you have been successful? What key behaviours will change as a result?
  3. Who do you need in your team to make change happen?

In the remainder of this module, we will focus on curiosity as a competency that adds value in the quest to understand our product, service, and organizational innovation challenges.

But first some myths about curiosity.

Ben Mcleod / Unsplash

Myths about Curiosity

"We don't have time to be curious."

Some would say that we don't have time not to be curious! Being curious allows us to wonder how our future circumstance might be different than what we have now.

"We have data - we don't need curiosity."

Teams often have lots of data, which is great! Yet data only tells us about the past so it is up to us to be curious about the present and future, and what the challenge actually is.  

"Curious people ask too many questions. Can't we just get on with the work?"

Curiosity IS the work. When solving challenges it is critical to learn about, and understand, the challenge. The world is full of 'solutions looking for a problem' which is often cased .

"Curious is innate. It can't be taught."

You can learn curiosity with your 'beginner's mind'!

"My greatest strength as a consultant is to be ignorant and ask a few questions" - Peter Drucker

The number and type of questions you ask is a great indicator of Curiosity. Data indicates the average toddler asks around 100 questions an hour! That changes significantly as we grow older. Develop self awareness of the questions you ask and challenge yourself to ask better questions.

Curiosity is a set of learnable skills and behaviors

Fundamentally, curiosity is about learning and understanding. Since you are here to develop your facilitation capability, we will focus the 3 skills of Curiosity as the behaviors that you model and the experiences that you take teams through as they work to understand key challenges. Since we are still in the orientation phase of work, we will provide a brief overview of the skills and behaviors. Once you have experienced human-centered sessions, we will have a better platform upon which to contextualize and explore further.
Curiosity skills
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Slow Down to Go Fast

What is it?

In our efforts to work efficiently, we often fall prey to the idea that working fast in the belief that we will be more productive. This is a fallacy of our contemporary world. As any athlete will tell you, going fast all the time will result in less than peak performance and injury.

In the context of facilitation, slowing down means making space for reflection, incubation, and dialogue. This is the "power of the pause".

Why is it important?

Research in peak human performance tells us that rest is at least as important as activity. They are 'two sides of the same coin'. Slowing down also lets you become a better active listener! 

How do I do it?

The first step in Slowing Down is to make it a practice. Techniques include a ritual to intentionally slow down.

In the context of facilitating a team, make time for individual and team reflection so that people have time to take in the lessons learned during your workshop. Set the stage and make time for incubation, which is especially important after there has been a flurry of intensive activity.

Finally, make space for silence in dialogue. In our culture we often try to 'fill up' silence with conversation. This is a mistake as it doesn't allow time for people who may need time to process (see 'Include all Voices'). A team often needs time to reflect, especially in the midst of difficult conversations.

Ben Mcleod / Unsplash

Fall in Love

What is it?

Fall in love with the customer, the challenge, and the organizations ability to lead and deliver change. We use the word Love intentionally to overcome a bias toward efficiency and an overly cognitive mindset. Falling in love with the customer is about bringing your natural capacity for empathy to feel the experience of another, which requires people to get out of their heads.

Alot of our work is focused on productivity and efficiency, completing tasks with a defined right answer. Leading change with Creativity requires us to embrace ambiguity where there is no right or obvious answer. That is hard. We start by seeing and feeling an experience through the eyes of another. For those of us who have been in roles for extended periods, this may mean falling back in love with the problem.  

Why is it important?

'Learning to stand in somebody else's shoes, to see through their eyes, that's how peace begins. And it's up to you to make that happen. "Empathy is a quality of character that can change the world." Barak Obama.

How do I do it?

The first step to falling in Love with the problem is to humanize the problem. Building practical empathy for the consumer or stakeholder requires you to identify and feel the emotions of another. In the context of an experience or service this can often be emotions of frustration or disppointment as well as delight and curiosity. Use the jobs-to-be-done framework to define the functional, emotional and social job to be done.

Ben Mcleod / Unsplash

Make the Invisible Visible

What is it?

Our work and lives are filled with invisible dynamics and attitudes that can enable or disable our efforts to make the world a better place. Making the invisible visible is about illuminating those dynamics so that we can take action. It has been said that naming a problem takes power away from it. By the same token, revealing invisible health can provide exciting opportunities.

Why is it important?

Shared understanding of complex dynamics helps foster better solutions and improves productivity. Without shared understanding, chaos reigns, and events start happening that we can't explain. The greater the shared understanding in the team, the better the communication, efficiency, and effectiveness of the team itself.

How do I do it?

There are many ways to make the invisible visible. Eliciting stories, for example, is a great way to uncover more than 'the facts' and can reveal the underlying dynamics of an issue facing a team. Visual thinking is also a great way to increase shared understanding of key dynamics. These may be relational or tactical. Once you have identified an invisible dynamic, find a generative way of naming it to the team and manage it in the open.