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Curiosity and Innovation


During each Fellows cohort Dr. Bernard Bull (his web site http://etale.org/main/ and book titled "Missional Moonshots: Insights and Inspiration for Educational Innovation”) leads our discussions on innovation. He covers the design of an innovative organization and how to introduce innovation into your institution using experiments. A prerequisite for innovation is curiosity. In order for our institutions to innovate they have to be curious. There are several great articles in the Harvard Business Review for September-October 2018 on curiosity at https://hbr.org/2018/09/cultivate-curiosity and https://hbr.org/2018/09/curiosity#the-five-dimensions-of-curiosity.

The difficult question for leaders is how do you develop and support a culture that promotes curiosity. There are several answers to that question. First, a leader must provide "space" for curiosity--both time and resources. Second, a leader must encourage curiosity by modeling it in how they ask questions and relentlessly pursue ideas. Finally, a leader must recognize and reward curiosity. What stifles curiosity? Curiosity is destroyed by rigid bureaucracies, arrogance, complacency and an over reliance on achieving efficiency.

In our work on approaches to planning, we emphasized the difference between strategic thinking and strategic planning. Curiosity is essential for strategic thinking and forms the basis for envisioning the future of your institution. If you are not curious you will never, ever fundamentally change anything about your institution.

Enjoy being curious both individually and as an institution!! It is the basis for innovation and the beginning of an organization's vision.


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