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Developing Curiosity and Agility at arms-length?

Developing Curiosity and Agility at arms-length?

Last week my colleague Graham Cook, MD of RSVP Design, passed me a report to read, suggesting that it was highly relevant to how we support our customers in developing new business strategies for a very different world. The survey was compiled by Survey Monkey and, as you would expect, makes much use of data gathered from US companies.

2 key traits for successfully navigating the coronavirus crisis: 2020 Research Report

Having read the report I can say that there’s a lot that’s valuable here, but in terms of guiding organisations towards action there’s more that needs to be said – The ‘what’ is good, the ‘how’ is missing. Perhaps that’s where we need to add the learning component?

So firstly what were the two traits that the report revealed?

“Curiosity. The willingness to explore, and seek new opportunities and solutions by using data and feedback as a guide. Curiosity helps you uncover new solutions, explore them, and ensure that they’re the best course of action.”

“Agility. The ability and resolve to act quickly to adapt to new paradigms by fundamentally changing the established order. Agility allows you to take bold, decisive action. It gives you the freedom and flexibility to pursue outside-the-box solutions, no matter how extreme they might be.”

Absolutely! At RSVP Design these have been two of our most significant design-drivers for the last 15 years so we’re not advocating changing that just because the pressure is on. But we’ve always been committed to offering customers the practical tools that will help them to develop these traits in their people so I have to read the report further to ascertain what action it advocates.

We get three “tactics for fostering curiosity and agility in your organisation” i.e.

Build a culture where creativity is celebrated

Constantly collect feedback from all available sources

Take action on the feedback you gather

Again, we’d fully endorse these three as worthy ambitions for any organisation, at any time, and even more so right now. However, here’s the question I’d put to an organisation that came to RSVP Design looking for support in implementing these tactics

“Right now, do you have the time and space to simply FOSTER the curiosity and agility you need in your organisation?” 

and I’d quickly follow that with

“Would you feel better about your chances of success if we set out to DEVELOP the curiosity and agility you need in your organisation?” 

Even if these questions were waved away as semantic niceties I’d suggest that your people will be a whole lot more committed, confident and clear about what the tactics are if we state that we’re going to develop skills rather than foster them.

So we come to the question of how does an organisation step up its efforts to develop Curiosity and Agility in its people? These are not cognitive skills that can be learned by reading text, it’s hard to create engaging visual content like video that will develop the skills, and case studies (such as those used extensively in the report) that will make for interesting reading but haven’t got a hope of approaching true development. My answer would be that these are perfect material for experiential learning tools and methods.

If you’re still able to work face-to-face then at RSVP Design we have a significant catalogue of tools that have proven effectiveness in developing curiosity and agility. Here are some suggestions against each trait:

Curiosity – Challenging Assumptions and the Breakthrough Thinking Workshop

Agility – T-tradeMinefield and Simmetrics

Many of our customers have been forced to rapidly move their development activities on-line which, in many cases, has led to a reduction, or even abandonment, of experiential activities. In speaking with these customers it seems that they have recognised, as we have, that on-line platforms were never designed to have the flexibility and functionality that is needed to truly translate experiential approaches to the virtual world. Breakout rooms and shared whiteboards are a start, but all of the key decisions about how the learning is organised are left with the facilitator, decisions that real experiential approaches seek to share with the learners. Faced with these, and other structural problems, we’ve used the past months to develop our own platform, designed from the ground up to support facilitators of experiential learning in maintaining best practice.

After extensive testing we have so far migrated Colourblind (Online Version) to our automated Experiential Learning Tools platform and many customers are appreciating its effectiveness and ease-of-use. We have developed several of our other tools for on-line delivery and Simbols (Online Version): and Seeing the Point (Online Version) are two that are proving very popular. 

Experiential learning is both possible and powerful in our current operating environment

Get in touch if you’d like a trial demonstration, or to discuss your learning and development needs.

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