Curiosity breathes life into your organisation

Written by
Dr Diane Hamilton, Founder and CEO, Tonerra

06 May 2020

06 May 2020 • by Dr Diane Hamilton, Founder and CEO, Tonerra

Is your organisation doing enough to encourage staff to be curious? Dr Diane Hamilton, founder and CEO of Tonerra, and author of Cracking the Curiosity Code: The Key to Unlocking Human Potential, views curiosity as the spark for innovation and productivity.

Companies are collapsing at an alarming rate. The average life expectancy for a current S&P company is less than 20 years. If the lifespan of companies continues to reduce, 75% of the S&P 500 will be replaced by more innovative companies by 2027. 

The death of organisations can come from status quo thinking that inhibits innovative ideas. In today’s volatile and changeable environment, companies that do not embrace curiosity will be replaced by those that encourage and empower their people to ask questions and share what works and what doesn’t.

Curiosity is the spark for innovation, engagement and productivity. Organisations that fail to recognise this will not be able to compete at a time of exponential technological change. While businesses may acknowledge the need for motivated, creative, innovative employees, they often overlook the fact that it is curiosity that sparks these things. To expect productivity without igniting curiosity is like not switching on the oven, but expecting a cake to rise. 

Rewarding employees for learning

Companies such as Verizon and Novartis have taken on board the relevance of curiosity. For example, Verizon’s CEO, Hans Vestberg, has shaken things up by ensuring that training programmes include content around curiosity. Meanwhile, Novartis has prioritised curiosity to the extent that it rewards employees for learning. Its chief learning officer, Simon Brown, has set a goal of employees exploring 100 hours of learning each year. 

Is your company doing enough to encourage staff to be curious? If meetings always end in consensus, the chances are you have status quo thinkers — and your company could be en route to stagnation and failure. 

What can employers do to help their people explore with curiosity?

What can you do, as a leader, to ensure your employees feel confident to explore with curiosity? Begin by finding out what might be inhibiting them. How do fear, assumptions, environment and technology create barriers to people asking questions, suggesting ideas or voicing their concerns? Role model curiosity- based behaviours and emulate the skills that curious people exhibit. 

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