The curiosity factor

From artists to CEOs, the pursuit of success is a universal goal. One of the key elements to success is curiosity. In fact, our research shows a relationship between curiosity and creativity, furthermore revealing a tendency for curious and creative people to possess increased inclination and capacity to take on bigger challenges in work and in life.

The terms Curiosity Quotient (C.Q.) and Passion Quotient (P.Q.) were first coined by Thomas L. Friedman in his 2013 New York Times op-ed titled ‘It’s P.Q. and C.Q. as much as I.Q.’ in which he stated, “The winners … will be those with more P.Q. and C.Q. to leverage all the new digital tools to not just find a job, but to invent one or reinvent one, and to not just learn, but to relearn for a lifetime.”

Life-long learning

We are taught from early childhood to follow directions, color between the lines, and not ask “dumb” questions. Not only are these old adages counterproductive to developing a healthy sense of curiosity, they also restrict individuals from exploring their individual freedom to make creative choices and embrace an artistic mindset.

The goal is not to turn everyone into artists, but to encourage curiosity. Curious people are adventurers, constantly seeking new information in order to move forward. They are problem solvers, taking it upon themselves to discover what they don’t know and to learn something new.

Asking questions

A fundamental step in establishing a high level of C.Q. is asking relevant questions. Carefully selecting what type of information you are seeking is equally important to building a system to effectively test a set of pre-determined assumptions. Employing a process that allows for inquisitive, uncomfortable and often difficult questions will ensure that the end product not only achieves the technical requirements of an objective, but allows for failure and unexpected results, which is critical to log-in to the creative process.


In order to safely log in for success, you must first gain access to the application with the username: “curiosity” and password: “creativity.” Log-in provides endless resources in order to discover untapped knowledge and an unlimited access to innovation.

Developing a formula for success is not binary, it requires us to be programmed to send as well as receive information. This requires a decision-making process that is constructed as a two-way street, allowing for a free, cross-directional flow of ideas, opinions and feedback. This give and take develops characteristics in line with a highly functional C.Q. and requires the user to fully commit to moving beyond obvious solutions and into the unknown in order to reap the desired benefits from failure and success.

From a business perspective, it’s the practical application of something as ephemeral and abstract as curiosity, a simple, yet essential mindset that can make the difference between propelling your business and ideas forward or merely repeating the same behavior, hoping for a different result.

With over 30 years of leadership experience, Mark Masuoka has successfully led nonprofit art organizations and businesses in achieving exceptional performance, profitability and sustainability.