Curiosity may have killed the cat, but…

…a lack of curiosity in your business will kill you!

Being curious is hard work. It often means that you are following trains of thought or activity which deviate from the accepted norm, especially within your business.

There are 128 accepted human values in the world. Of these, only 11 drive curiosity. Of these, you will rarely see any listed in the organisations values, which means that curiosity isn’t something which is considered by the majority when the culture of the business, which is built on values, is being defined.

Curiosity Values

The impact of the lack of curiosity has been quantified. Of the current members of the Fortune 500, it is estimated that 80% of them will no longer be in that list by 2020. That means that in 2-3 years’ time, the organisations which tend to define the economy will fundamentally change.

Curiosity Business Performance

Curiosity becomes essential in picking up on the weak signals in the marketplace which are the indicator of forthcoming disruption. These snippets of information, often hidden in social-media streams, offer a valuable new tool for staying ahead –  if you can detect them. If you are not curious about how culture, society, people’s ambitions, other people’s needs, technology, the economy, etc, could impact your business, you are blocking your ability to understand the weak signals and how they could impact you. Weak signals turn into strong signals and by then, if you haven’t acted, it can be too late.

This is all backed up by a recent McKinsey report on how organisations who are able to digitally reinvent themselves are pulling away from the pack.

McKinsey states that:

Companies competing in traditional ways (that is, without applying digital technologies and strategies in their businesses) have seen lower rates of revenue and earnings growth than have companies competing in digital ways—and those rates are tightly correlated with the level of digitalization, or digitization, in their respective sectors. But other players are seeing tremendous growth as digitization advances. The companies making digital moves—digital natives, industry incumbents competing in new and digital ways, and incumbents moving into new sectors—are out-performing their traditional-incumbent counterparts.

The report goes on to say, that if you aren’t working out how to digitise your core business, then you may as well forget it.

Risk of revenue loss

Digital reinventors are approaching the opportunity in 3 ways which are increasing the value of their core business and innovating new business models;

Innovating the business model; not just making minor modifications, but significantly changing strategies to adapt to the opportunity,

Embedding technology innovatively and at scale; using cutting-edge technologies at scale to deliver results, and

Investing more decisively; investing more, in a targeted way to deliver outcomes based on the new strategy.

The link between curiosity and translating the outcomes possible from being curious into actions which will help the organisation respond to the market disruption, which is an inevitable consequence of the world we live in today, is marked. If you don’t support curiosity by enabling your people to be curious, your revenue will decline, and your business is likely to die.

LINQ enables curiosity. As we work with our customers, one of the classic use cases we hear, are individuals using LINQ to model the information flow in areas of the business that “just don’t feel right”. The knowledge gained about how you operate through this process identifies things that are currently going on which could be done better – the waste could be removed, so that the business becomes more efficient and effective. As previously discussed, this incremental change is a definition of transformation.

What McKinsey’s research suggests is that more profound change is needed to account for the market disruption we are living in. Matching weak signals to need within the business so that transformation is made in the areas of greatest impact is necessary. LINQs approach to this, through the value of your information assets, enables a single place, where at an appropriate level of detail you can be curious about the impact of change on your business and present that, with evidence to your decision makers – the very people who should be picking up on the weak signals in the first place!

The need for this approach is becoming well accepted; be curious enough to understand the disruption coming your way, understand how to adjust your business model and your technology innovation, and the prioritise your internal investment before it’s too late.

LINQ can get you on that journey quickly by enabling you to model weak signals to your change programme and adjust it as necessary to ensure you are successful. Take a look at LINQ in Action and book a demonstration to find out how LINQ can help protect your business.

Thanks to Rackspace ANZ and Corporate Anthropologist Michael Henderson for the Curiosity content used in this blog post.