Organisations grapple with relentless change. Today’s dynamic business landscape is characterised by complexity, unpredictability and the need to be resilient. Thriving in this environment necessitates the harnessing of curiosity, an increasingly vital trait for both individual and organisational success.

What can organisation do about this?

They can enact 5 overlapping activities.

  • Curiosity-Enhancing Training
  • Enable curiosity-related Recruitment and Selection
  • Foster a Feedback Culture
  • Promote Design Thinking
  • Improve Organisational Change Readiness
  1. Curiosity-Enhancing Training:

    • Implement training programs that foster curiosity through mystery-based designs, gradually revealing information to stimulate the pursuit of new knowledge and skills. Mindfulness training, promoting non-judgmental awareness, can also boost curiosity.
  2. Enable Recruitment and Selection:

    • Integrate assessments of curiosity-related traits into the hiring process, using reliable evaluation tools.
  3. Fostering a Feedback Culture:

    • Cultivate a feedback culture that encourages curiosity. Emphasise feedback techniques that prompt recipients to critically reevaluate their knowledge and understanding, igniting curiosity when they are "almost, but not quite, knowing."
  4. Promote Design Thinking:

    • Leverage divergent thinking by applying design thinking techniques as a strategic approach to innovate, solve complex problems, and enhance user experiences. In design thinking several possible ideas are created (‘divergent thinking’), before refining and narrowing down to the best idea (‘convergent thinking’).​​​
  5. Improve Organisational Change Readiness:

    • Evaluate your organisation's readiness for change through surveys, polls, and interviews. Encourage a mindset that challenges conventional change management models and embraces emerging conceptualisations of change.

Why The Curiosity Advantage?

Curiosity isn't a mere nice-to-have; it's a must-have. Turbulent conditions, propelled by financial crises, geopolitical volatility, technological leaps, and information saturation, demand adaptability and a quest for knowledge. In recent times, progressive global organisations like Merck, Nike, Disney, and GE have recognised curiosity as a core value, while academic interest in curiosity has surged. At the same time, the role of curiosity in SMEs, which account for 60-70% of jobs in most OECD countries, remains underexplored.

Unfortunately, a paradox exists. There is no doubt that interest in curiosity is spiking, and leaders espouse its virtues however, leaders also discourage the practice of curiosity due to unclear ROI. The business case for curiosity is poorly understood.

Why is this important?

We, at BearingPoint, continuously examine the nexus between curiosity and performance. Our work with clients shows that organisations can significantly increase performance through a two-part approach; by enhancing curiosity at all levels (individual, team, organisation) and in parallel improving the organisation’s change readiness. Studies have also identified divergent thinking, a sub-trait of curiosity, as a significant predictor of both organisational performance and change readiness. Divergent thinking is defined as the process of creating multiple, unique ideas or solutions to a problem that you are trying to solve.

Organisations should adopt a two-part strategy to optimise performance: enhance the practice of curiosity in the organisation, while simultaneously improving organisation-level change readiness. Furthermore, organisations should lean into aspects of curiosity that may produce outsized performance outcomes, such as divergent thinking.

Are you now curious?

In today's world, curiosity is a strategic asset driving individual and organisational performance. Curiosity's pivotal role in enhancing change readiness cannot be overstated. Organisations of all sizes should invest in nurturing both curiosity and change readiness to thrive amidst constant change. They can start by doing five concurrent activities well. Developing these capabilities will prepare them to outperform competitors and adapt rapidly in the current landscape. Curiosity is not just a trait; it's the key to longevity and prosperity in the business world.

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