June 29, 2012

Curiosity Won’t Kill You

So, I did not put a cat video at the front because everyone knows kitty videos get attention.  After all, if there is nothing else that the viral internet has taught us, it’s that everybody loves a good cat video.  But I assure you, there is more to this.  This curious cat can actually teach us a lot about problem solving and intuitive design.

What actually sparks curiosity?  It’s the chance to improve, excel, or gain information, to reward our sense of exploration.  And while you might wind up running away like a scared kitty at the end, there is also the chance that there is a big bowl of tuna sitting there.  The difference here is that we aren’t cats.  Wisdom gives us the ability to differentiate a spark of curiosity from the next “shiny new thing.”  While shiny new things are interesting, often they aren’t inherently useful. In fact, some of the outcomes our curiosity leads us to might not be inherently useful either. So, instead, we plod on. It seems far more productive to be caught up in the day to day than to “potentially waste time.”

In fact, we’ve often been taught this.  Keep shipping.  But unfortunately, this means that the status quo will never change – if you’re in the business of keeping the status quo, then I suppose you’ve read too far.  The rest of us have the opportunity to scan the fringes, become more efficient, innovate, excel.  Never stop looking around with unbridled curiosity.  Who knows what you’ll find?

The saying goes “Curiosity killed the cat” ….but most people forget how it ends.  “But satisfaction brought it back.”

Stay curious.

-Kevin (@cunningham_kev)