March 01


What you could learn from ‘The Business Case for Curiosity’ this months HBR (Sep/Oct 2018)

Re-evaluating incremental innovation

Does 10X thinking work? Research of top consumer packaged good companies suggests not. When comparing two large companies (P&G and Reckitt Benckiser RB), RB had a much higher hit rate for new product innovation, despite the smaller R&D budget. The author argues this was due to RB focus on improvements to their most profitable brands, which leads to outsized pay-offs.

Creating a vivid vision

“A computer in every home” is a clear, vivid and compelling vision. The authors argue that if you encouarge people to ‘time travel’ into the future and ‘see’ the future, they are more likley to create a vivid and compelling vision.

The Business Case of Curiosity

  • Fewer decisions making errors. Curiosity means you are less prone to confirmation bias and stereotyping.
  • More innovations. People find alternative solutions, especially when faced with binary decisions.
  • Reduced group conflict. Curiosity involves putting yourself in other people shoes, increasing empathy and group cohesion.
  • More open communications. Infomation is shared more widely, deeply and frequently, and people listen more carefully.

Five ways to boost curiosity

  1. Hire curious people. Find ways to identify curious people.
  2. Model inquisitiveness. Lead by example,
  3. Emphasise learning goals.
  4. Let employees explore and broaden their interests.
  5. Have explored days.