4 ways curiosity encourages a culture of innovation

Do you consider yourself… curious? To be honest, most people say yes, especially considering that the opposite traits – being close-minded and dull – are not very flattering.

But just how curious are you? Do you push past the accepted, toward the unconventional? Do you look at processes and products and ask “Why not?” Do you incentivise your people to share their urge to ask more of your business?

If you answered ‘Yes’, that’s fantastic. Because these days, unless you put curiosity to work for you, your business won’t survive and your people won’t love coming to work. Ideally, curiosity should be incorporated into every part of your business – from product development through operations; to sales and the customer experience; repeat business models and loyalty programs.

Like to know more? Here are four ways that curiosity can help foster a culture of questioning – and in turn, innovation, across your business.

1.    Curiosity through inquisitiveness = anything’s possible

The true power of curiosity is that it injects everything with a sense of possibility.

Albert Einstein famously said “I have no special talents”, and yet he developed the general theory of relativity – one of the two pillars of modern physics. However, he also said, “I am passionately curious” and that’s where his lifelong obsession with questioning was put to work discovering new scientific ground. It’s also no coincidence the Mars Rover was named ‘Curiosity’.

2.   Curiosity through service = deeper connections

To provide an amazing customer experience your people need to be curious. (No, not nosey… just genuinely interested). And the weapon of choice to use, is questions. By asking curious, open questions (rather than closed, judging questions), it helps remove any fears your people have of being seen to be ‘selling', and helps them better understand your customers and, in turn, suggest new ways to satisfy them.

3.   Curiosity through listening = new opportunities

Curiosity isn’t a childhood gift that’s lost. It’s a lifetime habit. However, the mental muscle that supports it does need to be regularly exercised, as do your listening skills. Listening closely provides a goldmine of information to improve your workplace and service, as well as spy out new (previously unthought-of) business opportunities.

4.   Curiosity through humility = let them speak and be heard

Great workplace cultures are built on talking with your people, not at them. Sadly, there’s still a culture of ‘tell’ in many workplaces. So what’s wrong with telling? It subtly puts your people down. It implies they don’t already know what you’re saying and that they ought to know. However, asking empowers your people and shows their thoughts and ideas are equally valuable. It starts a mutually beneficial relationship where both parties feel valued and understood. And hey, that’s got to be good for business.


How do you change?

Firstly, start your conversations with two words, “What if?” That’s an open invitation to think differently – no matter who you’re talking with or the circumstances. This simple queation will encourage, engage and empower your people to also be that way.

Second, put the right incentives in place – ones that inspire curiosity, conversation and moments that can be shared. RedBalloon are highly skilled at creating tiered programs that dive deep into your culture and bring out the best in your people. With more than 3500 curated experiences ranging from big, through to small and even thoughtful ‘gestures’, you’re sure to find incentives that tick all your boxes.

Finally, encourage your people to recognise one another for their innovative attitude, curious approach and overall effort. Ask RedBalloon about setting up a referral system that doesn’t just stop at management recognition, but also allows recommendations and rewards to flow between your people, building greater camaraderie, appreciation and team spirit.


Di Mace is a freelance story-making brand writer, strategist and purpose-digger. She turns boring brand messages into content and stories that matter. Find her at www.wordswords.com.au.