the cultivation of curiosity:
enables & inspires
an attitude of bold discovery where fear and reactivity may predominate,
initiating a fresh quest for new growth;
the resilience required to creatively respond to disruptive challenges,
and the confidence to be a catalyst for creative disruptive change
innate potential, opening opportunities for creativity and innovation,
beneficial transformation, and fruitful shared outcomes.
“I have no special talents. I am only passionately curious.”
– Albert Einstein
The World Economic Forum – backed by an outpouring of mildly panic stricken white papers from big name organisational consultancies – hails our era as the Fourth Industrial Revolution. We are already riding the rising wave of an increasingly complex fusion of technologies – digital, biological, material, social – which will disrupt, revolutionize and transform almost all spheres of human culture and conduct. Artificial intelligence, blockchain encryption, genomics, 3D printing, driverless vehicles, ‘the internet of things’, nanotechnology, biotechnology, quantum computing, renewable energy systems; any one of these innovations will have a profound impact on technical, social and organisational structures as we currently know them. The combination of all of them emerging simultaneously is, lightly stated, mind-boggling.
We’re entering an era of hyper-complex rapid change which will be experienced by most as serial disruption.
How to cope?
How to manage?
How to navigate intelligent pathways through tumult?
Social researchers and organisational experts from the Harvard Business Review to Brene Brown are proclaiming the value of curiosity to successfully navigate the turbulent cultural vicissitudes of the early 21st century.
But, what is curiosity?
Curiosity is the human trait that has enabled a physically feeble species with an exceedingly lengthy and vulnerable infancy to become completely dominant. It’s the drive that has led to every important invention and exploration that humans have engaged in, from pre-digesting food by cooking it over a fire, to sending a vehicle (called ‘Curiosity’) to Mars. Curiosity is a dynamic of ongoing inquiry, a virtuous cycle of recurring, adaptive questioning. It’s a proactive journey of questioning, rather than a reactive defensive entrenchment. Curiosity is a call towards something, rather than a flight from something. Curiosity is not driven by crisis, but by wonder and awe, and it’s a drive that’s inspired people to take extraordinary risks and endure extraordinary hardships. As James Stephens wrote, “Curiosity will conquer fear even more than bravery will, indeed, it has led many people into dangers which mere physical courage would shudder away from…”
Curiosity is the characteristic best adapted to resiliently navigate the kind of emergent complexity and serial disruption that we face as a species existing on an astonishingly unlikely finite living system. Curiosity is the most useful response to what is known in strategic leadership as VUCA; Volatility/Vulnerability, Uncertainty, Complexity and Ambiguity. It’s a key to innovation, productivity, agility, continuous renewal, well-being and fulfillment. It responds mindfully to crises, it discovers opportunities in obstacles, it enables the release of outmoded habits and patterns and is a core element of basic resilience.