Innovation: How big is your curiosity quotient?

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Innovation, Tom Peters and your curiosity quotient

Photo credit jim i’ll pic it

“It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.” Charles Darwin

While at Twestival, I found myself explaining my background to a new friend who was a leader in a fortune 500 company. Throughout our conversation my new friend commented, “Oh man I love how much risk you take, I wish I could do that. It’s so cool you’ve always been an entrepreneur.”

Actually, I found his remarks surprising, especially since currently I view being a solopreneur about as fun as sticking push pins in my eyeballs.

If you are a lover of innovation, new ideas, change and discovery you understand: You live a life of zig and zag. You love the feeling the photo above embodies. You love the adrenaline of going for it, trying, experimenting and taking risks. And sometimes because you are such a risk taker what you crave is for someone to hire you and tell you exactly what to do…

So just as I was considering the secure life I ran across Tom Peters 121 Innovation Tactics. And immediately I was reminded of why I like the push pin in the eyeball kind of life.

You see I can’t get away from the fact that my curiosity quotient is nearly 98% of my body weight. I’m not so happy in places that don’t embrace new, novel, and ‘what if’. To me new is the currency of life. And purpose is tied directly to creating and innovating high value solutions that make a difference in other people’s lives. I mean new, for new sake is ok but what really turns me on is innovative solutions that improve lives- now that’s something I’m willing to fall down and fail at a couple million times…

Warren Bennis describes innovators as ‘dreamers with deadlines.’

Now more than ever leaders need to cultivate innovation and remind themselves that failure, zigging, zagging, trying and learning … are the keys to success.

I’m still ruminating over Tom Peter’s 121 points on Innovation but here are a few take aways.

Embracing failure, falling down, zigging and trying again; is success; even when its as uncomfortable as poking pins into your eyeballs.

Just because your an innovator doesn’t give you the right to be undisciplined or irresponsible.

Take responsibility for learning and growing that comes from falling down, failing and getting back up.


Innovators are some of the most open, unstructured people you will ever meet and they have to be.

Innovation is driven through engagement and openness. Closed systems, hidden agendas and a lack of congruency kill innovation.

Innovation hinges on a certain amount of random process discovery; engagement and trust must be high.

Innovation demands open sources, systems that are action orientated not mental forever rumination.

Innovators think; ready, fire, aim.

Innovators live the hang out factor, they see a world with no walls and they want everyone; vendors, alliances, across sector friends, experts, clients, employees in the game; engaged.

Different perspectives lead to new and interesting findings and opportunities.

Innovators get that engagement begins with inviting everyone to ‘hang out’ and that the more we engage the more valuable the outcomes.

Innovation is a process of discovery.

It’s more software design than electrical engineering. It’s here and there and then it’s not working so you start over.

People, people, sharing, crowd-sourcing, contributing and asking new questions – that’s what drives innovation and change.

Innovators have a quarterback like memory; short.

Innovative leaders are Chief Forgetting Officers.

Innovators surround themselves with innovative partners, vendors, they hang out with people outside of their industry.

Innovators don’t accept industry benchmarks as a sign of success rather see them as a stamp of mediocrity.

Innovators understand that the variety and diversity of inputs is key in determining random innovative miracles.

After reviewing the points on innovation I was shaking my head. I’m a born rope swinger, who loves orchestrating change and innovation and growth. As much as I sometimes covet the secure lives of those who manage large organizations. I can’t imagine not engaging my curiosity quotient on a daily basis. I’m what Peter’s refers to as a ‘hot’ innovator.

I live and breathe innovative solutions.

Change. Grow. Innovate. Create. Build. It’s the way to add value -.

Now -what is your curiosity quotient?

How curious are you? And how much zigging, zagging, falling down, failing, trying again are you doing these days?

Remember only the curious create….NOW get moving and zig, zag, swing, fall down, get up and learn.


Pam Hoelzle



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