I am currently reading “A Curious Mind” by Brian Grazer (movie and TV producer) and Charles Fishman (journalist). I find it fascinating that Grazer attributes his highly successful career to both his innate curiosity, and his disciplined approach to further developing his curiosity by meeting with thousands of people to find out what makes them tick. He uses the depth of his experiences to help him identify great stories when they come along and to recognize, through the conversations he has had, the characters (or conglomeration of characters) who should inhabit these stories.
In the introduction to the book, Grazer discusses how curiosity has been reduced to a lesser status as an attribute. No longer is curiosity so welcome in a classroom or a workplace discussion. Instead, words like “innovation” or “creativity” are the new standards. But that negates the fact that to get to innovation or creativity you need curiosity about the world around us and the challenges in front of us.
As I’m reading, I am struck by how this growing lack of curiosity is negatively affecting policymaking here in Washington DC and across the country. We’re seeing more and more of our decision makers dismissing overwhelming data in favor of locked-in partisan political positions. It’s almost as if a lack of curiosity has become a virtue. One no longer has to grapple with questions outside one’s area of expertise.
I’m fortunate to work with partners who are curious, and thus creative and innovative. Our clients are also curious about what’s possible, constantly asking, “What if?” It makes what we do so much more interesting and energizing. I would like to see the day that our policymakers become curious as to the possibilities in front of us as a country. If they don’t, I would like to see the media and their constituents call them out for hiding behind a lack of curiosity.
Alan MacLeod manages Capstone National Partners Washington, DC office where he is the strategic lead for CNP clients. Alan represents the Washington, DC interests of high tech corporations, nationally known universities and research institutions and a variety of other clients. His relationships with Federal Agencies, on Capitol Hill and the Administration have developed over more than 25 years working in and around Washington, DC in public affairs and the political arena.
The views in this blog post represent the viewpoints of individual team members, not Capstone National Partners as a whole.