Cherish and (re)train your curiosity

Creativity, imagination, critical thinking and problem solving are all key human skills for the current and coming decades. Many people also call these the “21st century skills“. In my view, their core shared component is curiosity. It is my mission to work with any organisation that is open to actively support their employees, or students, and teaching staff to (re)discover and develop this core skill. Typically this requires some level of organisational change, or more importantly, a true commitment to facilitating and encouraging life long learning.

Curiosity that fuels imagination is possibly one of the (few) remaining human skills that is most difficult to automate. It is also the key reason we are not still hauling rocks back and forth. But how (professionally) curious are you, really? More importantly, do you feel equipped to make sense of and work with  the increasing complexity that you are facing, daily? Think about it.

Taking the easy option vs curiosity

Due to confidentiality I cannot give explicit examples from my past projects but here are a few representative types of examples that you might recognise:

  1. Follow the hype or … Take blockchain. The lazy option is to see it as the new hot technology and jump on the bandwagon without really knowing why, how and what. The more curious approach is however to strategically look at the principles of blockchain and how these link (or not!) towards areas that you are experiencing problems with. You can then use this to decide how these principles can help you to address your problems and/or seize new opportunities, and … to check whether there are no other solutions available. In summary: just implementing a technology because everyone seems to be doing it is not necessarily the way to go….
  2. Big topics, let someone else take care of it, or… Take climate change. This is an extremely complex topic, so you can choose to sit back and say “Let national governments solve it”. Or you can say “What can we, e.g. as local actor, do ourselves and what role should we actively play, or seek cooperation for”. Do you feel the difference?
  3. Start small and scale what you got, or… You want to introduce a new product that eventually should capture a large market. But that market is diverse and you want to start small so you focus on one target group. You invest heavily, you reach that target group Then you expand and you discover that this simple concept of “scaling” is not as easy as you expected it to be. Does an alternative strategy exist? Yes. But the #1 requirement is that you are prepared to embrace instead of fear complexity. And I have concrete ideas how you can do that.

The bottom line

Within the restrictions of currently having limited time available anyway I focus on organisations that have genuine ambitions to change the world for the better, with attention for value creation for actual people. Efficiency might be a (limited) tool or by-catch, it can never be the primary goal. This will also benefit the planet, if you are smart about it. In short, I am mostly interested to work with organisations that focus on social and/or ecological value creation.