Stefanie Brandt-Tallqvist // October 03 2018
What makes stories like Alice in Wonderland, the Narnia chronicles, Harry Potter and Pippi Longstocking so good, and so evergreen? They are all fueled by curiosity. (Spoiler alerts follows!) Alice went down the rabbit hole, Lucy was the first to enter through the closet to the magic land of Narnia and Harry Potter decides to go with Hagrid without knowing what will happen and Pippi is the most curious fearless little girl there is, constantly questioning, experimenting and trying new things, like cracking an egg on her head just to see what happens.
Curiosity has always been a driving force in human history.
I believe that by being curious and constantly asking why we have come up with the most amazing inventions, innovations and helped mankind to be where we are today. Trial and error, repeated experiments and at the end -success!
After a month here at Digitalist I can see that curiosity is something that glues us Digitalists together. During this month I have heard so many people in the organization talk passionately about this subject so I decided this theme was going to be my one month in the job “report”.
Kids constantly experiment. I watch my one year old daughter going through a developmental phase called the phase of program where she is learning patterns of “if….then….” decisions. Her trail of thought goes “If I put my shirt in the toilet… then it gets wet” or the other day “If I pull all my sisters clothes out of the cabinet they will fall on the ground”. Kids are constantly trying out sequences and these if…then… cause and effects. And then they start asking WHY. My three year old is coming into this age now. Mum, why did the shirt get wet, why do things fall down and not up, why are we happy, why are we tired, why do you go to work, why do we exist, why why why.
And I find myself getting more and more curious about the world as I watch her marvel at it with the innocence and open mindedness only a child can have. As we grow older and learn more and more cause and effects sequences we stop asking why, but we never should. Pre assumptions can be detrimental to innovation. By jumping to conclusions and not asking enough questions on the way we might loose the chance to evolve and improve, so curiosity is key.
We should never stop being curious.
I once heard a story about a woman who had recently started dating. Every time she was would make steak she would cut it around the edges. Her boyfriend watched her do it a few times and then asked her curiously why she was cutting off the outer edges of your steak. She looked puzzled and said that she didn’t know, that it was something her mother always used to do. So she got curious and asked her mother. Her mother had no idea either, she said it was something her mother used to do back when she was a child so they went to ask her. The old woman started to laugh. She said, “Oh dear, it was because back in the day we had such a small stove and such a small frying pan that I had to make the steak smaller to fit the pan”. I think this story explains well how habits and presumptions can make people repeat something that isn’t relevant anymore or do something that is inefficient because they’ve stopped asking why, and then someone who looks at things from a different perspective, someone curious, comes in and asks the game changer question: why?
Always make sure your organization asks why
Curiosity is about wanting to learn and improve, something that is strongly embedded in our culture, we promote Improving by learning and one of our values is to Explore, by integrating these in our daily life we ensure we stay curious and forward thinking. Digitalist is a tribe of many tribes, with many companies that have fused together in a short period of time, but the one thing to rule them all (see the pun? 😉 is that we are all curious, and going to the bottom of things by asking why is in our DNA. Improvement drives company growth and profitability, and it is important that the company culture ensures improving by learning and the possibility to grow. Reversed, if the organizational culture is not promoting willingness to learn or improve it will affect the company’s profitability.
We aim to make companies curious about the future, because out of curiosity comes innovation. After all, we are the CX Innovation company, and our weapon of choice is “why?”.