Strengths in Action - Curiosity skilled the Capp

Hannah-Leigh Huffelmann - Talent Solutions Lead

I have a problem. My name is Hannah Leigh and I am curiosity addict. It all started when I learnt the word ‘why’, it graduated to the gateway language of ‘how’ and before I knew it, I discovered reading. That is when I knew I could never stop.

One of my top strengths is curiosity, although my family would call it an obsession. It is one that formed in my childhood and then exploded into the stratosphere with the ‘invention’ of the internet. For example, there is a tool on the internet called StumbleUpon, it is designed to randomly take you to a page on the web. You can filter it to something specific like ‘psychology’ or ‘the arts’ or you can leave it wide open to take you someplace you didn’t even know existed. I just tried it and it took me to a page titled ‘70 of the Most Useful Websites on the Internet’. I am now distracted, I want to know more, I want to look at each one. I promise I’ll be back, just let me look at a few. Just quickly.

At any given time I will have at least ten tabs open on a browser, a podcast playing in the background, be in the middle of reading four different books and I will have observed the room I am in like Sherlock Holmes. To me this is paradise, I long to absorb information and data from everything. Nothing is safe. Sometimes I watch the end credits of a film to see what interesting names pop up. My friends say I would read anything, I take that as a compliment.

In the workplace I have always found that this strength has been generally valued. Creative companies are always trying to think differently and innovate their efforts outside of the ordinary and every day and because of my curiosity I can support this. I can make connections that bring to life ‘bias’ from the challenges of satire; ‘motivation’ from the association with white coats and ‘empowerment’ from innovations in traffic zoning. And in some situations this is useful. When I discovered instructional design (aka design which helps us learn) I fell in love. Here was a chance to make the often mundane - interesting, unique and surprising plus you could pass on some teachings in the process. After all what stands out is remembered, and what we remember we are more likely to try and use again.

Working at Capp, has renewed my vigour in this strength. Not only is it a culture where people are driven to innovate and try something new, but it is one in which passion is encouraged and sought out. The very strength which might be difficult to tolerate at a party – researching wine categorisations from the labels is apparently strange – has found a home amongst those who celebrate each person’s uniqueness.

On the other side, it took me twenty years but I have come to realise that not everyone is as curious as me. I have learnt many things which have helped my compulsion and improved my relationships in the process. These include, but are not limited to 1) not every conversation should be started with ‘did you know’ 2) the word ‘interesting’ is subjective 3) listening can be rewarding and 4) that there are definitely, a great deal more than 70 useful websites on the internet.