The Best Attribute An Innovator Can Have Is Curiosity

We believe that the key personal attribute of a great innovator is curiosity.

For a curious person an idea is just a starting point. They want and expect an idea to inspire them; propelling them to new and unexpected places. They know that a curious approach will enable them to evolve an idea to something, perhaps unrecognisable from its starting point, but that will work much harder.

Curious people are also curious about people. This drives them to ask not just what but why? And their deeper understanding of their fellow man, allows them to empathise and create things and have ideas that go to the heart of what people want.

In building our team of innovators we agree that passion is great, but we highly value curiosity above all else, because:

A passionate person might ask “What if?”:

  • What if we put it in a bottle?
  • What if it was this bottle with a slimline design and a flip top?
  • What if we launched this in the Middle-East?
Blackboard with the quote "The wisdom begins in wonder" by Socrates

But a curious person will ask “I wonder” and this is more powerful…

  • I wonder what the biggest opportunity for this is?
  • I wonder where the consumers or user sees the value in this idea and why that’s important to them?
  • I wonder how we can improve it? I wonder if there’s something we’ve not thought of here?
  • I wonder who I could ask for input and I wonder how we could empower and inspire them?

So you can generate a culture of curiosity by swapping ‘What if?’ for ‘I wonder…’ ? Asking “What if?” will close your idea down and that feels good and productive – job done! But asking “I wonder…” will lead your team to clues, clues that help you find the gaps that great ideas can break through.

*This article takes inspiration from Elizabeth Gilbert’s “Big Magic”

Published 4th February 2016 by Natalie Reed @ the Strategy Distillery