I recently found a copy of the Harvard Business Review (HBR). I’ve been a reader of The Economist on and off since I was in college, but hadn’t ever picked up the HBR thinking it was too academic. I was wrong!
There’s a great article in the October 2018 edition from Professor Francesca Gino titled ‘The business case for curiosity’. It discusses curiosity within the workplace; how it is restricted, how it can be encouraged, and the benefits to the organization when a curiosity culture is adopted.
We all like to think that we encourage people around us to be curious or inquisitive. However, underlying fears can stop us from wholeheartedly embracing this culture. Questions can creep into our minds about our own performance, job security, achieving goals already determined, etc. But to innovate, we must be free to ask questions – the most important being ‘why?’.
One of the tools I use (which also happens to be mentioned in the article) is the Five Whys Approach. When I’m trying to understand something (especially if it’s specific to one of my clients), I will often ask Why five times. It enables me to capture all the layers of information about a process, concept, or value without over complicating the discussion. It’s a tool I most frequently use in response to “because we’ve always done it that way”.
If you are looking for ways to encourage curiosity as a means to innovate, I would recommend picking up a copy.
Founder, Exploring Solutions