Francesca Gino Makes the Business Case for Curiosity in the Latest Harvard Business Review
“Most of the breakthrough discoveries and remarkable inventions throughout history, from flints to fire to self-driving cars, have something in common: they are the result of curiosity,” says Francesca Gino, Harvard Business School professor, behavioral scientist, and author of the new book Rebel Talent. In her cover story for Harvard Business Review, Gino outlines the barriers to creativity at work—and in keynotes she explains how to break them down.
Executives, managers and CEOs all know that they want curious, innovative employees, however what they don’t realize is they’re frequently standing in the way of it. “Leaders often think that curiosity will lead to a costly mess,” says Gino, which to some extent is true. “Exploration involves questioning the status quo and doesn’t always provide useful information. But it also means not settling for the first possible solution—so it often yields better remedies.”
What’s one way of overcoming this barrier to productive breakthrough? Emphasizing learning goals. In an interview with Captain Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger, Gino asked him how he was able to land a commercial aircraft safely in the Hudson River, to which he described his passion to augment his learning. “He successfully fought the tendency to grasp for the most obvious option … those who are passionate about continuous learning are able to contemplate a wide range of options and perspectives,” says Gino. Leaders can help employees adopt this mindset by rewarding people not only for their performance, but for the exploratory learning path they took to get there.
Listen to Francesca Gino explain why parents should teach kids to question rules rather than take them for granted in this installment of The Atlantic’s “Home School” series.