A Rackspace® (NYSE: RAX) study on curiosity has revealed the majority of Australian & New Zealand businesses do not place enough emphasis on curiosity in the workplace. According to employees surveyed, this leads to a loss of ‘technology potential’, such as greater technological innovation of products and services and technology application in the workplace.
The Rackspace Curiosity Quotient questioned 1,368 Australian and New Zealand white-collar workers. It found that of the 44 per cent of respondents that believed their organisation was curious, 77 per cent agreed curiosity played an important role towards innovating new products and services. That number drops dramatically to just 36 per cent in non-curious organisations.
Similarly, in curious organisations, 85 per cent of respondents agreed that it is essential to be curious about technology and its application in the workplace, compared to 57 per cent in non-curious organisations.
Of the overall respondents surveyed:
* 80 per cent said it was important to be curious in life generally
* 73 per cent agreed it was important to be curious within their day to day job
* 63 per cent strongly agreed that curiosity played an important role in driving increased revenues in the business
* 70 per cent agreed it was essential to be ‘curious about technology and its application in the workplace’
* 67 per cent agreed that ‘technology had enabled a greater level of professional potential for them at work’
Angus Dorney, director and general manager, Rackspace ANZ comments, “Rackspace undertook a detailed study of the role of curiosity within business and what the implications of greater curiosity are. Being curious about technology is extremely important in helping us to manage complexity and gain more knowledge to manage disruption.
“But time away from technology is equally important too. The human touch is critical in supporting technology and what it can do. Technology can be a huge competitive advantage, but it is the people that piece it all together that make competitive advantage real.”
Small business knows when to switch off
65 per cent of respondents agreed it was important to switch off from technology, ‘enabling periods of thinking and quiet’ time. Yet only 37 per cent surveyed said their workplace encouraged time away from technology for day-to-day contemplation.
The story is different for smaller businesses. In those with a turnover of between $200k and $2m, 60 per cent surveyed were encouraged to take time away from technology, compared to just 34 per cent in those businesses earning over $10m.
Supporting this, 46 per cent of respondents said that switching off ‘enabled them to foster a greater sense of curiosity’. Australians it seems are more inclined to do this (48 per cent), over New Zealanders (37 per cent).
Is a technology ‘underclass’ forming?
As technology becomes front and centre of our lives and the businesses we work in, the interesting dichotomy is that while technology has made our lives easier, faster, cheaper and more productive, it is leaving some people behind.
Encouragingly, 61 per cent of respondents said they ‘used technology to stay ahead of developments that are making old skills obsolete.’ However, 55 per cent said that ‘jobs were becoming harder to come by due to increased levels of technology-driven job automation’. This highlights the need to be increasingly curious about technology and the skills it can provide.
Greg Symons, CEO and founder, ClearMatch and co-founder of SocietyOne comments, “There is a divide occurring in technological prowess or skill. I think the people most at risk are those that sit in the middle of their technical skills. You’re either using your curiosity and your skill set and your knowledge to automate, or you will be automated.”