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10X Your Curious Culture

Not all organizations approach continuous learning from the same place. Some industries organically attract curious people and companies must sustain that curiosity. Other times, organizations need fresh ways to inspire the curiosity of their employees to foster a continuous learning community.

Regardless of the starting point, investing in a culture of continuous learning has clear benefits. One study found that curiosity increases job satisfaction, engagement, and innovative behaviors. Further, research published in the Harvard Business Review found that cultivating curiosity develops employees’ adaptability and creates conditions that foster trusting, collaborative professional relationships. 

Here are seven proven tips and techniques for growing a culture of learning to help organizations harness its value:

Start a co-learning Slack channel.

At refine+focus we encourage our team to share any cool resources, articles, or webinars that peak their interest. It’s become a hub of knowledge, discussion, and exploration.

 

Via refine+focus’ co-learning slack channel

 

When onboarding, look for the profile of an intellectually curious candidate.

A report from Merck found that employees who scored high on the curiosity index often viewed themselves as detail-oriented, thoughtful and energetic decision makers who brought positivity to their organization. 

 

Via Merck.com

 

Create a space that incubates curiosity.

Thriveglobal.com recommends creating time for research and reflection, always asking ‘why’, and converting the discomfort of not-knowing into curiosity and excitement.

 

Via TeachThought.com

 

Bake curiosity into meeting agendas.

According to Harvard Business Review, companies can take project agenda items and reformulate them as questions. These new agendas drive engagement and participation by focusing on questions like “how should we prioritize these projects?”. 

 

Via Flickr.com

 

Create a resource catalogue and offer programs that support it.

Novartis offers an extensive training catalogue with a range of upskilling opportunities. The catalogue features resources in multiple languages and includes in-person training programs, online courses, books, audiobooks, podcasts, and Ted Talks. According to Forbes, Novartis also has a program that allows employees to learn and grow for 100 hours per year through employer-paid education. 

 

Via Novartis

 

Have a question of the week and start using #GreatQuestion.

SurveyMonkey holds weekly town hall meetings on the question of the week, selected by employees through a survey. SurveyMonkey also fosters a culture of supporting questions using #GreatQuestion in their Slack channels.

 

Via Teamgantt.com

 

Incentivize and gamify curious behavior.

Workday offers an annual innovation award to foster new, creative solutions while other companies like AT&T hold hackathons and E3 has a peer to peer recognition program.

 

Via AT&T.com

 

There are numerous ways to approach continuous learning. From instituting a new hashtag to building curious spaces, prioritizing and protecting time for curiosity and exploration can help organizations win the fruits of continuous learning. Pick a few of the tips to try and take a conscious, iterative approach to testing them out. We’re curious to hear how it goes.

P.S. Want to learn more about continuous learning? Check out our CEO’s Zach Braiker and COO Purnima Thakre’s LinkedIn Live event on the principles and practices of a continuous learner. 

The Continuous Learner Journey

Continuous learning is a way of life. And like exercise, those who are committed to it see numerous benefits in their health, wellness, and careers. Yet not everyone encounters continuous learning the same way, which is why we must approach the topic differently for each type of person.

The Skeptic

If you need a reason to believe the benefits of continuous learning, start with the fact that those who learn continuously succeed. Research has found that “continuous training gives 50% net higher sales per employee”. It’s also known to boost engagement and productivity. To become a continuous learner, start with curiosity.

 

Via OriginLearning.com
          • Before you can form a habit, start with the desire for change and the hunger to learn something new.
          • There’s a mindfulness exercise which transforms the act of eating a simple raising into an act of discovery. The idea is to pay exquisite attention to an ordinary object to illuminate it.
          • Another technique is to find a Ted Talk on a topic on which you are curious. Explore why the topic interests you and what the interest says about you.

The “I wish I had time” learner

Don’t we all wish we had more time to learn. The secret to continuous learning is integrate it among your priorities. Start smaller.

          • Enhance your current routine with great content.
          • Plan ahead for the learning. Create a folder where you add the resources that you want to check out and dig in when the time arises (or better yet, slot it in).
          • Crowdsource. Use social media to ask your busy friends what they’re learning and how.
          • Add reflection into your routine. Continuous learning does not always require outside stimulus. Even writing a 5 minute summary of your day before you sleep acknowledges what you’re learning.

 

Via GreatMindsUnited.com

The “give me more” learner

These curious explorers already have a portfolio of learning. They can recommend the best podcasts, courses, shows and experiences. Many things are helpful for them.

          • It’s critical to find new voices and get outside of the echo-chamber of resources that reinforce the same types of learning. We recommend following people with different points of view on social media. Fresh perspectives can also be found by discovering newsletters and videos.
          • Actively exploring new events is key. We recommend creating a calendar of events, finding one day a month to create a calendar. Start with Eventbrite or check out our carefully curated events calendar.

 

Click the image to discover 40+ virtual events

For all continuous learners

Check out these golden resources to spark your curiosity.

          • NPR’s Hidden Brain podcast marries science and storytelling to explore human behavior and understand our unconscious patterns and biases.
          • You never know what you’re going to get from iHeart Radio’s podcast Stuff You Should Know. Topics range from the origins of flamethrowing to true crime stories to Rosa Parks to if dogs can tell time.
          • Explained, a VOX produced Netflix docu series, explores everything from cryptography to why diets fail to the origins of athleisure to the world of k-pop.
          • Zenhabits is a blog dedicated to simplicity and mindfulness among chaos. This thoughtful and actionable resource is packed with provoking thought-pieces and practical actions.
          • LinkedIn Learning offers a selection of courses taught by professionals in the field.

 

Via Medium.com

 

Curiosity is the heart of continuous learning. While there are many benefits around continuous learning, it’s not just benefit-driven. You can cross fertilize outside your silo and explore new ways of practicing continuous learning.

Must Connect

To learn more about continuous learning principles, practices, and mindsets check out the LinkedIn Live event we held in which our CEO Zach Braiker shared his insights and experiences.

LOOKING FOR DATA IN ALL THE WRONG PLACES: MINING TWITTER FOR CONSUMER PURCHASING INTENT

Emerging research on the political implications of social media suggests that, when it comes to forecasting election results, Twitter hype matters more than tweet type. Social scientists at Indiana University looked to Twitter as an alternative to traditional polling, combing the site for election-related posts from the run-up to the 2010 congressional races. They found that candidates with higher raw shares of Twitter mentions won by roughly the same margin of votes, regardless of whether the tweet reflected positively or negatively on the candidate. Remarkably, for hopeful politicians in competitive races, even negative press was good press on Twitter.

Studies on Internet buzz and consumption suggest that the predictive power of tweet frequency also applies to market outcomes. For example, in one 2010 HP Labs study, analysts found that the rate at which people Tweeted about new movies correlated to real box-office revenues. Furthermore, these Twitter-based predictions systematically outperformed in accuracy those of the Hollywood Stock Exchange, the industry’s classic gold standard of information markets.
twitter-photo
But, do negative tweets contribute to positive buzz for consumer products in the same way they do for politicians? Findings on the relationship between tweet sentiment and consumer purchasing behavior are less clear-cut. A 2011 study on Twitter mood and stock market trends found that, while the general positive or negative sentiment of tweets contributed little to forecast accuracy, the relative “calmness” of Twitter users did correlate to daily fluctuations in the closing values of the Dow Jones Industrial Average. Thus, while the emotional polarity of tweets did not make much difference, other dimensions of tweet sentiment were still relevant.

For brands seeking to attract and retain consumers on Twitter, proactive interaction, rather than passive buzz, seems to matter as well. A review of tweets from consumer electronics brands found that UK shoppers exposed to brand tweets were 65% more likely than the average Internet user to add products to their carts on those companies’ websites. Overall, Twitter users are 50% more likely to purchase from brands they follow.

Ultimately, determining the optimal balance between tweet quantity and quality will depend on the answer to a more complex question: what comes first, the consumer or the Tweet? Are box-office hits well-tweeted because they are already well-liked? Or, does the mere exposure effect—by which familiarity breeds favorites—make Twitter a real determinant of purchase intent? When the platform is flooded with an average of 58 million tweets per day, Twitter presents tricky terrain for those hoping to make a lasting impression on potential fans, followers, and consumers. But, as the findings above suggest, mining the Twittersphere for hints of socialized consumption can provide insights for the architects of social media campaigns.

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