When I think on the sort of culture we desperately owe it to our teammates, partners, customers and organizations to bring to the table — I always come back to curiosity. More than anything else it’s this trait that I want to shepherd at Jakt and that I want to surround myself with both professionally and personally.
I believe that digital organizations (those with designers, developers or product people) must all create safe spaces for the curious creative. I’m not sure I can imagine a driving mentality or default mode that is more valuable to an organization than that of a curious individual. The presence of someone that can’t help but be curious is undeniably felt.
- The curious individual has obviously at the very least, showed up and listened, as they’ve heard your explanation of the status quo, the thing as-is, and responded to it.
- The curious individual has demonstrated that they have a mental model, or a system, or a set of expectations that they reference, because they have said, “Sure, you’ve said that this is so, but help me understand it in this context, or in this situation?” And that demonstration of reference or mental model has been shown to, at the very least, be the root of stronger creative problem solving.
- The curious individual can innovate. At the heart of every innovation is someone who faced down a tradition, a baseline default or a status quo and said, “But what about this, instead?”
- The curious individual uncovers opportunity, simply via the value of asking a question that might create a thing. And they uncover threat, or risk, by not shying away from their intrinsic nature to ask a question, even when it’s a difficult one.
- The curious individual is more likely to have made the right thing, the right way, the first time — because by questioning before, and during creation — they’ve reduced the likelihood of going too far down the wrong path.
- The curious individual knows the user better, or the team better, because they know that somewhere in their questions is the heart of all the work and energy that goes in to research and understanding. And better relationships.
I believe so strongly in the value of curiosity that recently I couldn’t help but admit how many of my own personal accomplishments I attribute simply to being present and asking good questions. From the set of questions I created to consider before joining an early-stage startup, to the system we generated for Leadership through Inquisition, my career has been built on the back of curiosity, in one way or another.
And per the present, and the future, I can’t shake the feeling that some of my personal mission, my value to the world, is empowering curiosity better in myself and others. I believe so much in this that as we approach our mission, vision and values, I think our greatest opportunity is to remember and explore how we can continue to foster curiosity and apply it more consistently in our work and relationships. This process, is something I promise to continue sharing as we develop it.
At the end of the day, I believe the best work will come from those who ask the best questions. As I continue to write and explore how this applies to my future and our team at Jakt, and my own personal mission — it’s in this where I aim to spend my own energy and effort.
The work of building a home for the curious creative.
If this resonates with you or you have clear tactics you’ve employed to inspire and consistently produce curiosity in yourself or your teams, I’d love to hear about those tools. And if you’re looking to join a team like ours please feel free to send me a message or view the job listings on our website.