One of the common characteristics I’ve found in most successful innovators is a strong sense of curiosity. They are genuinely interested in deeply understanding customers, existing solutions, competition, etc. It is through this deep understanding that they often find new ways to look at problems, ways to bring ideas from other disciplines, ways to separate the noise from the signal. It is also this deep understanding that makes the iterative process successful.
My experience suggests that inductive reasoning – the basis for most new hypotheses – is largely a product of intense curiosity. As perhaps a keystone of successful innovation, curiosity and inductive reasoning require patience and often result in an asymmetry of results (i.e. non-linear relationship of time invested to quality of outcome).
Why does this matter?
- Innovation team members need to be driven to explore – i.e. curious
- The learning process at the front-end of innovation requires patience
- Real insights often come from deep understanding of seemingly unrelated systems (i.e. other disciplines)
- Unstructured time is often needed to nurture curiosity