The Genesis Project Episode Twenty

“I’ve got another interesting story to tell you”, Grace began as Jim and Shirley arrived at her office. “Jim, I remember you telling me about neuroplasticity, and how the brain grows with curiosity. I’ve also recently read how happiness fuels success rather than what we used to believe that success fuels happiness.”

“I just am not of the mindset of making our workplace a playground. That might work for high tech companies, but I’m not comfortable with it in our blue-collar environment. Everyone enjoys trivia, so I decided to issue trivia questions each week. Of course, people can probably do a Google search to find the answer, but they seemed to take pride in sleuthing out the answer. That brought employees together.”

“The following week I would share with them a story with the answer to the trivia question. Since all of these had a theme of beginnings, I hoped that the process of answering the trivia question and reading about the backstory would trigger their curiosity.”

“Fascinating”, said Shirley. “Have you seen any impact?”

“I have, but let me tell you something I didn’t expect. One of the employees submitted his own trivia question. It dealt with his job and something that others might not realize that he did. I then used that trivia question, and guess what happened?”

“You were flooded with other questions”, answered Jim.

“I was, but that’s only part of the story. When the employees first trivia question was answered, one of our engineers met with the employee. Together they came up with a labor-saving device. That would not have happened without the trivia question.”

“What a lucky happening”, responded Jim.

“Turns out, it wasn’t luck. Almost every employee trivia question has triggered a similar response. We’ve changed vendors for better quality. An employee came up with a special tweak to give us a new selling point. We’ve reduced waste with raw materials. I could go on.”

“That’s a story we need to share with others”, said Shirley. “There are lots of stories of employer-generated improvement teams. These seem to have mixed success. But what you have done is to create an organic process for improvement that comes from the employees themselves. I do have a question for you. Do you think you can sustain this?”

“I thought about that”, said Grace. “For all of the good the improvements have achieved, perhaps the biggest change is how people are working together who may never have connected.”

“What you have done”, said Jim, “is to create one of the most important links to curiosity development – and that’s to stimulate connections.”

“And with that, let’s end today. Next time I want to review what we are doing to motivate creativity.”           

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Asking the right questions is as important as answering them.” – Benoit Mandell  

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