Some people seem to be naturally curious. Others work at it, while some just lack interest in learning. You can notice this when traveling. Some people can describe many aspects of their local vicinity while others don’t know anything about why certain features exist. They say that the most interesting people are those who are interested in others.
The primary work skills of the previous century, what I call ‘Labour’, can be summed up as: compliance, diligence, and intelligence. These skills were needed for routine work and standardized jobs. But the new skills required to live in a world dominated by networks and non-routine work requires ‘Talent’: curiosity, creativity, and empathy. The core skill is curiosity. Curiosity about ideas can improve creativity. Curiosity about people can improve empathy, through understanding others. We cannot be empathetic for others unless we are first curious about them. We cannot be creative unless we are first curious to learn new ideas.
We see a lot of discussion about digital skills and future of work skills, but the basic skill required to navigate the network era is curiosity. It should be nurtured and supported in our schools, but often is not. Standardized curriculum dulls curiosity. Standardized work reduces creativity. Standardized communities have little empathy for those who are different. If we want to change the world, be curious. If we want to make the world a better place, promote curiosity in all aspects of learning and work.