I value curiosity because progress demands we get past the obvious and open people’s minds to new possibilities. It’s not enough to know about something, it’s important to understand why. By asking questions we can connect with people and, by listening thoughtfully, we elevate their voices, build empathy, and ensure their dreams are our starting point. The more we can experience what’s going on for them the more we can appreciate their needs and worries. Asking “what if” and “why not” is to be encouraged, so is celebrating setbacks. Better to try and fail than never try at all. After all, our greatest asset is learning, and with courage, initiative and resourcefulness our experiments push the envelope and create new experiences. Listening elevates the voices of the people we’re designing for and ensures that their dreams and worries are our starting point.
Seeking positive change
Creating positive change often means shaking things up and not settling for the first solution. The future we desire may lack details at the start, like how to get there, but our curiosity takes us on a journey of discovery and iteration. In the face of uncertainty, we explore and fill gaps in our knowledge. We see through the eyes of others, then look for the views they miss. And by developing a vision as we go, based on the facts we gather, we can question opinions thoughtfully with purpose, evidence, consideration and humour. We can explain why because we understand why, and we can do so with credibility. This wins hearts and minds. This builds trust. This nurtures friendship.
We all want our lives at work to be enjoyable and engaging, and add up to something that feels worthwhile. That comes from having interest and variety; from feeling a part of something bigger and knowing how we can contribute. Every day brings opportunity to try something new, or do something familiar in a different way. When our curiosity is stirred, we think more deeply, more creatively and more rationally. We can discover how we can improve, what we can create, where we can grow. Small shifts can have a big impact. And we can all make small shifts.
Curiosity can bring about changes that require a leap of faith—from us and from others. People affected might feel worried, awkward, unsafe or even destabilised. The biggest challenge is turning negative perceptions into positive decisions. Looking around, we can see how what we do relies on and influences everyone else. Some days people might see us as the good guys, other days they might think we're the bad guys. That’s why keeping everything visible, staying transparent, and explaining the reasoning behind decisions makes intentions clear and shows people care and respect.
Most breakthrough discoveries and remarkable inventions in our history are the result of our curiosity. Our future requires that we maintain that same sense of wonder and keep our curiosity alive. To indulge our impulses to seek new information and experiences and explore novel possibilities. To fuel our creativity, learning and innovation.