Intellectual

Intellectual character

Assets | Curiosity

1. Highlights

Curiosity is our natural tendency to seek more information to better understand other people and the world around us. It drives us to ask questions like “Why?” and “What if?” — questions that enable us to dig deeper and expand our knowledge and understanding.

Ask questions to expand our knowledge and understanding

Remain open-minded and willing to interrupt our biases and assumptions

Seek new information to uncover root causes and understand a problem more deeply

While curiosity is an innate disposition, it often wanes as we get older and grow into the knowledge and perspectives that we have already acquired. In combination with intellectual humility, keeping our curiosity open and active can spark the process of Principled Innovation: in recognizing the limits of our own knowledge and beliefs, curiosity leads us to seek out the truth by engaging diverse perspectives, listening to different stories and finding new sources of information, all of which provide us with a more complete picture of the world.

Curiosity can lead to developing innovative solutions to the challenges faced by our learning communities. When curiosity drives us to dig into a problem more deeply and better understand it — uncovering root causes and seeing the multiple and perhaps conflicting beliefs that exist — we are more likely to come up with ways to successfully address the problem. Yet when we engage with a range of beliefs, many of which are different from our own, conversations may quickly devolve into conflict. An empathy-driven “compassionate curiosity” allows us to maintain the focus on understanding what makes others “tick” rather than allowing us to be dragged into disagreement. It is our curiosity that helps us remain open-minded, interrupting our biases and assumptions. By making observations and engaging in authentic questioning, we allow for deeper insights to emerge.

Curiosity drives us to dig into a problem more deeply and better understand it.
Being curious means reframing uncertainty as an opportunity for growth.

2. Context

Being curious means reframing uncertainty as an opportunity for growth.

3. Resources

Select one of our featured resources or visit the PI toolkit library for more tools.

The business case for curiosity

  Article

  20 minutes

  By: Francesca Gino, Harvard Business Review

The importance of curiosity and questions in 21st-century learning

  Article

  15 minutes

  By: Andrew P. Minigan, Education Week

This is your brain on curiosity

  Video

  14 minutes

  By: Matthias Gruber, TEDx

Making curiosity part of the curriculum

  Video

  20 minutes

  By: Principled Innovation™ (PI)

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