by Faye Graham
Midweight Copywriter at SLG Agency
It’s what caused Einstein to make his most important discoveries, what lead Alice down the infamous rabbit hole, and it’s even the name of NASA’s largest and most capable rover ever sent to Mars.
What are we talking about?
Curiosity, of course.
Curiosity is in all of us. It’s a natural response to our environment. It’s how we learn. It’s how we grow. It’s the urge to ask questions in order to understand and connect. As children, we’re born with it.
But what place does curiosity have in today’s business world, and why is it more important than ever?
1. Curiosity is key for personal and professional development.
Curiosity is integral to a growth mindset. Whether you find yourself in a creative role or not, the act of being curious propels us forward to explore, to seek, to find out, to experiment, to ask questions and get to the heart of things.
As a full-service agency, cultivating curiosity is a no-brainer for us personally at SLG.
Hell, it’s a way of life. So much so that we’ve even baked it into our brand values.
It’s about digging a little deeper, and challenging the status quo:
“What’s the objective, the point and purpose? What is it that needs to be achieved? What’s the insight, the business problem? Is what is being briefed even necessary? Is there something better, more cost effective, more profitable or more interesting? Challenging the brief is not about taking things at face value, or just saying “yes” and blindly getting on with it. It is about staying curious, saying “yes, but”, “why are we doing this” or “what if we did it this way…”
2. Curiosity is needed in industry and within workplace culture.
If the past few years have taught us anything, it’s that the ability to innovate and adapt are both crucial for survival, in business and in life. Curiosity acts as a prerequisite for innovation. It invites new possibilities and confronts what we think we know.
From civil engineering to marketing and business management; curiosity is a soft skill that anyone in any field can access. It’s an ability to think beyond the obvious, one that can be translated across sectors to open a channel for creativity and unlock the flow and development of ideas. When curiosity is triggered, we go deeper, thinking more laterally about decisions and in turn coming up with more creative solutions. It makes us think bigger, and often better.
But the brutal truth is that curiosity can cause disruption. By its very nature it is exploratory and requires not resting on your laurels. In industries already feeling the pressure of deadlines, budget restraints and regimented schedules, this type of exploration can be seen as wasting precious time. Particularly in more B2B roles, there’s even the misconception that you can’t be seen as experienced if you are in a constant state of learning. But that response is fear based. No-none ever achieved noteworthy success by being stagnant and closed minded. The reality is that the willingness to embrace the disruption is where the magic often happens for innovative businesses of various sizes.
The proof is in the pudding.
Even in a more conventional sense, fostering curiosity as a skill can lead to all sorts of benefits. In fact, studies show that encouraging people to be curious generates workplace improvements. Natural curiosity is associated with better job performance, more productive staff and more innovative problem solving to boot.
Simply put, by making small changes to office culture and the ways their employees interact, business leaders can encourage curiosity — and improve their companies for good.
3.Curiosity leads to advancements in the world.
Let’s face it, nothing kills creativity more than complacency. Curiosity on the other hand, can be the antidote.
Founder of the Global Curiosity Institute, Stefaan van Hooydonk defines curiosity as 3 different dimensions:
1. Cognitive dimension. This is the idea that the more we know about something, the more interested we are likely to be.
2. Social curiosity. Also known as empathic curiosity, this is our interest in other people. Empathic curiosity can be a key to defusing conflicts, for example.
3. Self-reflective dimension. The ability to look inwards and explore our conscious and unconscious thoughts, our values, biases, and beliefs.
Whichever way you look at it, curiosity is the driving force behind some of the world’s biggest scientific, architectural, and socially significant breakthroughs. How many great ideas, inventions and discoveries would have been lost throughout history, simply due to a lack of curiosity? No awe-inspiring pyramids, no lifesaving vaccines, no precious internet! From the way we live, to the way we work, curiosity has the potential to restructure our world as we know it. And for this reason it shouldn’t be overlooked.
In a post pandemic society, who knows what the next few years will bring for the economy, the construction landscape and beyond. But if there’s one attitude we can all adopt that will get us through, it’s to keep curious and carry on!