29 Mar Activating your curiosity muscle
Nowadays, innovative thinking rarely comes from the lightbulb moment in the bath. In today’s over-commoditised world, innovation is less about invention and more about finding a better way to do something than it was done before.
For years brainstorm facilitators have used techniques to encourage participants to think outside their narrowly defined box with questions like ‘What would Branson do?’. But we need to embrace stretch thinking more than once a year at the annual brainstorm. We need to consistently activate our brain’s curiosity muscle.
PwC’s annual Global CEO survey recently cited curiosity as one of the key traits leaders need to keep up with today’s business environment. Being curious has always been an important trait in marketers but curiosity outside the comfort zone of our own business, our own team or our own category is something seldom practised. Whether you are an aspiring CEO or someone who just wants to do their job better, taking the blinkers off and dissecting other categories, questioning other marketers and interrogating global leaders in their field, then applying the principles to your own business, can be enlightening.
What if you looked at sourcing the same technology as Amazon to give better customer recommendations? or you mirrored the IKEA model and empowered people to create your product themselves? or you took the exceptional customer service you receive at your favourite restaurant into your entire business?
Curiosity is a skill that can be learned. Unfortunately, business culture’s relentless demands on the urgent rather than the important discourages it. If we force ourselves to break out of the day-to-day and embrace alternate views, alternate processes and alternate belief systems, we will find amazingly innovative thinking that we can apply to our world.
So, try to make time each day, week or month to be curious. You might be surprised where it takes you – hopefully somewhere different to last year!