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The research is clear: curiosity boosts business performance

Harvard Business Review's Sept-Oct 2018's cover story: The Business Case for Curiosity. It Can Improve Your Firm's Adaptability And Perfomance. Hallelujah! A new boost for people who believe in the relevance of curiosity for business purposes! 

Business thrives when curiosity does. With the summer holiday over, it is high time for educators and managers to pay serious attention to their employees (and students). My mission to convey the message on the importance of curiosity got a nice boost with the publication of results of the research of professor Francesca Gino.

Positive Business Effects of Encouraging Curiosity

Curiosity is generally acknowledged to be a useful skill but in practice – when push comes to shove – fear takes over and curiosity in practice is not encouraged. The main findings from the research with regards to the direct positive business effects of actively encouraging curiosity, and acting on it:

  • Better (financial) performance
  • Higher quality decisions (because less bias)
  • Improves collaboration
  • Increases innovative behaviour
  • and of course all of this positively influenced each other
  • The main observed Better (financial) performance behaviour

Barriers for managers to allow these benefits to materialize are a mis-perception of the consequences, i.e., a messy unmanageable jungle. This is often exacerbated by valuing the short term or the holy grail of certain efficiency to such an extent that anything unknown is seen too much of a risk.

General Word of Advice

One conducive factor for the benefits to materialize is a culture and that revolves around learning and includes learning goals alongside performance goals. A general word of advice is to create conditions that encourage a broad and diverse pallet of perspectives (= curious) rather than a focused one (= efficient). This aspect aligns very nicely with my academic work. Not a coincidence, I suspect.

And now on to action? The articles gives practical and actionable advice. If you think my contribution is fully in line with these research and that the results can help you, feel free to get in touch to discuss this further, I’ll be happy to introduce to you to my method for Reintroduction to Curiosity!

Link to Harvard Business Review Article :

https://hbr.org/2018/09/curiosity#the-business-case-for-curiosity

For more information on Wouter's work and his original post:

http://thenewabc.nl/research-curiosity-boosts-business-performance/