12. Increase Innovation With A Curiosity Rule and Tool

When it comes to innovation, doing new “stuff” with uncertain outcomes scares many.

It’s in our DNA. Hyper-vigilance enabled mankind to survive while a small percentage of wackos generated the innovations that have cumulatively lifted all of us into today’s first-world economies.

Industry best-practices pursue efficient economic activity, which is not “innovative” economic activity that will grow sales, profits or all stakeholders’ benefits faster. Fine-tuning the past leads to fading financial returns and eventual death.  Customers, suppliers and employees who are more ambitious and progressive will choose to work with more innovative, rewarding distributors. The innovative rich get richer.

If “innovation” sounds too abstract, big and scary, then relax.  Innovation comes in many speeds, ranging from common adaptations done by everyone to disruptive supply-chain innovations like Wal-mart’s cross-docking, quick response or Amazon’s 2-Hour, Prime delivery.

You can boost your current Company Innovation IQ by adopting the Anti-Nitpick Rule and the Wheel of Learning Tool.

The Anti-NitPick Rule: If anyone offers a question or idea about how to change for the better, no one can nitpick it unless they have a can-do answer for their nit or another alternative, change-improvement idea. Arguing against change and for the status quo isn’t an option.

Since people nit-pick to preserve their world out of underlying fears, take action with baby-step change experiments. If the steps are small, low-risk and inexpensive, then even the most anxious teammates can be comfortable and even a bit courageous.

And, baby-step experiments are step 3 of 4 in the Wheel of Learning Tool. This cyclical curiosity tool starts with: 1) Questions, which leads to 2) Ideas/theories for possible answers. Theories must be then tested with 3) Baby-Step Experiments that reveal new findings. 4) Reflecting on the findings will lead to new Questions to start the circle again.


I explain “the wheel” in a short video-clip at these links: First go to my “Playlist 5” (out of 9) at this link: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL4194AD05EB22FB50.

Then, scroll down to clip #5:41 at this link for “The Wheel”:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cw9dQrvD2Jg&list=PL4194AD05EB22FB50&index=40

The Wheel is also discussed in a new 50-module, 5-minute, video course entitled: “Cost-to-Serve Math”. This course will give you many smart (#1) Questions to start your own Wheel work. Why not do a “cheap experiment” and check out the course link at:  http://iklarity-courses.thinkific.com/courses/CTS-Math

I’ve added below an excerpt from Lesson 46 of the CTS Math course where I discuss the Wheel of Learning and how this simple tool can catapult you forward with innovative thinking.

This five-minute lesson in full teaches your team, among other things:

  • Why it’s good to have multiple ideas/theories when it comes to solving questions internally,
  • Why it’s good to look at and learn from other channels and industries with similar (but maybe not so obvious) problems,  and most importantly,
  • How to move from theory to ACTION and new learning.


Enjoy the excerpt, and I encourage you to consider making the Wheel of Learning an active part of your organization’s culture.  To take an even deeper dive into Lesson 46, download a copy of the Instructor’s Guide here.

Also, remember to take a close look at the entire CTS Math course for your company.  If you have any questions, feel free to contact me or get in touch with Kerri over at iKlarity (Kerri.Laryea@iKlarity.com) to experience the entire course.

Remember:  All big journeys can start with a small-as-needed, first step; then courage, confidence, momentum and milestone successes can start to grow.