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As many of you know, Austin experienced another exciting and debaucherous SXSW in Austin, TX.
I attended the festival’s interactive portion, which was the largest to date, and the message is clear: Curiosity is King.
Curiosity is not an age specific attribute. Nor does curiosity have to rule in a dictatorship. However, it’s clear that lethargy and complacency are no longer allowed. Experts are continually seeking and discovering new ways to create, utilize, and capitalize on new technologies and innovations. Curiosity fosters relevancy and survival in the interactive world.
Every company is looking for the next it. They are looking for the next way to connect with their audience, the next avenue for revenue, or the next medium for their clients to build brand equity. But even when seeking innovation, the fundamentals always stay the same:
- Create an audience
- Share your message
- Strengthen relationships
- Heighten brand equity
- Deepen brand loyalty
With technology, it’s easy to get lost. Exploration can suck up time. How many times have you gone online to look for one thing, and 30 minutes later you are checking out some gossip site or updating your Facebook status? Dive in, but keep the focus clear.
If curiosity is now the price of entry, how do you manage your curiosity and the curiosity of others? And what do you want to get out of that exploration?
- Do you want general knowledge or practical tools?
- Do you want to innovate and create new products and/or technologies?
- Do you want to figure out other services and companies you can partner with to close your gap?
If you are a manager, leverage your individual curiosity for the collective whole. This can look like yahoo groups, team meetings, curiosity salons or a beer at the end of the day with your team. The goal is to manage your team’s curiosity in a way that works for you and your company.
Daniel Pink mentions in his 2009 TED Talk on motivation in the workplace, Google allows for its employees to spend 20% of their time working on projects that are self-directed. And, in any given year, about 50% of Google’s new technologies (like Gmail and Google News) come from this designated time.
Here are a few questions and practical steps to guide purposeful focus to your curiosity:
- Where do you need to be more relevant?
- What and who will help you become more relevant?
- Spend 2 uninterrupted hours researching.
- Capture your findings, including the higher level themes.
- Lay out applicable actions based on #4.
We are born with this curiosity. So if it’s been tucked away, bring it out, and dust it off so you can look at the world with a new sense of wonder and possibility.
Your Wing Woman,
- SXSurrogates (#icsx on twitter)
- Daniel Pink’s The Surprising Science of Motivation
- Open Leadership by Charlene Li
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