Last week I spent a few days in the Spanish sunshine for some much needed rest and recharge. I was holidaying with my sisters and Jack – my six month old nephew.
It strikes me that Jack hasn’t yet learned to deny his curiousity and I envy that. He sees something new and reaches for it, it goes into his mouth, he follows movement with his eyes, grins at new people, and laughs at the things that surprise him. Everything is a source of fascination to him. Curiousity is a natural human tendency which is nurtured out of us at a young age. We learn that we might not like the taste of something, the way something feels, the reaction we get, and so increasingly we simply don’t take the risk of trying something new.
And yet, to progress, to think creatively, we need to engage our curiousity. What happens if I try this? How will this feel? Will putting these ingredients together taste good? And, importantly, what will this experience be like for other people? Unless you are a genuine hermit you don’t exist in a bubble – your actions impact on others, and vice versa. So progression relies on both the curiousity to drive creative thinking, and the curiousity to seek out feedback from others.
I suspect these two types of curiousity are fundamentally different but borne out of the same natural tendency. I also suspect that, for many of us, we work without engaging with our curiousity. We know that applying process A will consistently lead to outcome B – and so we become comfortable in the workplace, delivering what is expected without ruffling any feathers, and without risking being judged for trying something new.
So, what if we could better engage the inner child, see the world as though it was new, as something to experiment with to find out what works and what doesn’t, what feels good and what causes pain. To do so requires space, and a learning culture to support growth, but could potentially harness exceptional creativity and drive exceptional progress.
Ultimately it falls to our leaders to have the courage to enable their teams to leap into the intriguing and challenging world of open and creative thought, accepting both the risks and the benefits.
As well as needing a supportive culture, creativity is a skill which requires conscious focus, a natural tendency which is squashed in most of us early in life. Try it – watch a baby learning, embrace your own inner child, and stay curious.
Want to tap into your creativity in a unique way? Click here to join my Street Wisdom event in Leamington Spa on 11th June.