Although many job descriptions call for creative, out-of-the-box thinkers, in reality, many people, and especially large hierarchical organizations, don’t actually like creativity. Most people are risk-adverse. They shy away from new ideas because they represent uncertainty. Healthcare is inherently risk-adverse. So how can people all across healthcare drive more innovation? By developing their curiosity.
The future belongs to the curious
Curiosity is not a fixed characteristic. It’s a strength we can develop and wield on the path to a more fulfilling life. – Todd Kashdan
A key to developing curiosity as a skill is building the capacity for inquiry. According to James Notter, in “Leadership Skills for the 21st Century”, we need to start asking more questions, “It sounds easy, yet we so rarely do it. Instead of giving answers all the time, ask some questions … through curiosity you have an opportunity to learn, which is more important than being right, particularly for innovation.”
The most important thing is not to stop questioning. – Albert Einstein
I had the opportunity to talk to the very charming Anette Sommer, a Bayer HealthCare researcher, after coming across her video about curiosity in my Twitter stream.
I was interested to learn more about the role curiosity played in Anette’s work, and whether she considered herself to be a generalist or a specialist. She says, “With regard to my professional orientation, I would consider myself a specialist. With regards to my private interests – culture, traveling, family, and so on – I would say, a generalist, actually. I am a scientist within a research lab, but I am also involved in management and coordinating research topics from more of a management perspective. So that means I cannot be too specialist; I have to be in both worlds.”
These are the people that I think have the most curiosity, those involved in both worlds, who do deep learning in their specialty, but also are open to new ideas and cross-pollination, bringing this to their specialty. – Anette Sommer, Bayer HealthCare
A love of learning is vital for the new age
In our rapidly changing world, Vivek Wadhwa says we all need to learn new skills, and develop a passion for continuously learning. He believes that while professions such as data science, software architecture, and bioengineering will command premiums, design and the soft sciences will gain increasing importance, “The sense of empathy that comes from music, arts, literature, and psychology provides a big advantage in design.”
What is the intersection between technology, art and science? Curiosity and wonder, because it drives us to explore. – Louie Schwartzberg
Researchers at UC Berkeley found that when doctors were genuinely curious about their patients’ perspectives, they significantly improved decision-making on both ends, and increased the effectiveness of treatment.
The new team-based approach to healthcare can also benefit from your curiosity. As views come from more sources and data points, we need to cross-pollinate ideas and not be afraid to ask questions. When you start with a question, you can take a complex problem to small, actionable steps.
Curiosity is one of the most underrated phenomena in the world. It’s ironic that people aren’t more curious about curiosity. It’s a powerful thing. – Scott Adams, Dilbert
Curiosity and #HITsm in 2016
I am happy to announce that I will be coordinating the weekly #HITsm chats in 2016 – our forum for asking interesting, visionary, and sometimes tough, questions about healthcare and healthcare technology.
I am curious to know the topics that are important to you. Please feel free to reach out to me on Twitter @healthiscool with your ideas and questions, or to be a guest moderator. The #HITsm community is now six years old, but every week there are new people coming to the conversation. So please join us and bring your curiosity to #HITsm, Fridays on Twitter at 11 am CT!
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