When we were young, our parents often told us that "curiosity killed the cat". This was their answer after we got too dirty looking for answers to important questions we wanted to solve (or when we asked questions that were uncomfortable for them to answer).
A great deal of movies also have lead us to believe that if we dig too deep, we would uncover truths that we would rather not know. But guess what? Curiosity is more important than ever.
Avoiding the obvious examples, it is thanks to the curiosity of Martin Stadler that we now have beautifully designed household appliances, the inquisitive nature of Olivier Bernhard and a friend that we now have a better running shoe, and the daringness and why-not mentality of Michael Fontana-Jones that Swiss people can get an almost unheard of selection of British Cheese in Switzerland!
Meet Curious Courses
That itching need to answer questions and learn new things is what inspired Selina Man-Karlsson to start Curious Courses. I asked her what she was first curious about and the answer she gave me made it clear that Curious Courses was a calling for her.
Selina told me that she was curious about many things, and did not know whether to learn about photography, feng shui, chocolate, or meditation.
She wanted to try out lots of different activities first and decide later what to pursue. If only to give people a taste of something new, Curious Courses opens up participants' worlds.
From learning the secrets to tasty raw food cooking to the scientific formula to a great sales pitch, people leave classes arranged by Curious Courses with a better understanding of a topic they are interested in and often have a burning desire to learn more.
The benefits to individuals are enormous, and to businesses and institutions invaluable.
Benefits for an Interconnected Workplace
In a world of ever-growing complexity, the one thing leading researchers, analysts and thoughts leaders agree on is that everything is a lot more interconnected than we think at first. That key insight has now been embodied in companies like Johnson & Johnson. In fact, they now have a TED talk department to allow employees to share their knowledge from inside and outside of the company. The goal: To find new solutions that benefit both the company and society.
Curious Courses takes the talk one step further into an actual hands-on workshop. If a talk can spark an interest, Curious Courses adds fuel to the fire and gives people further insight. This challenges them to dig deeper, learn more, and become an expert - or at very least increase their understanding of the world around them.
Knowledge Marketing thanks to Preview Courses
With a series of classes running a gauntlet of topics and interest, Selina has established Curious Courses as an institution for learning in Zürich, attracting participants from all walks of life. The courses are offered in English, making them especially friendly to expats but also an excellent opportunity for the Swiss to actively use the language skills they have learned in school.
As a business, Curious Courses does a fantastic job of helping individuals better sell their knowledge and courses. Offering a sample course in any subject is a great way of marketing different learning opportunities in Switzerland. Burning with curiosity, participants will often decide to take a full course after their appetites have been wetted.
For participants, the advantages are straight-forward: For a fraction of the cost of diving right into a course of something they think they are interested in, they get to test the waters in order to make a more informed decision as to whether the subject is really for them.
As for Selina, she is interested in learning more about style, sport mental training, health foods, and more. She will no doubt be taking part in many more courses in the future.
Curious Courses Day on June 21, 2014
Our interests are often diverse - we have all experienced a work colleague who is a crossfit guru, Tolstoy expert, and charity worker with five years of experience as an English teacher in China. And when we are truly honest with ourselves, we see that we too are more diverse than what we often think.
To give people an opportunity for satisfying as much of their curiosity as possible, Curious Courses is hosting their second annual Curious Courses Day at the Volkshaus in Zürich.
Participants have the chance of sampling any six courses out of a possible 18. Set for June 21, this is a great way of starting off summer! These courses might get you ready for becoming well versed in a new field, which in turn might open up doors in both your private and professional life.
When I asked Selina about what courses fill up the fastest, she said that people are interested in self-development as well as their own passions - which are as diverse as number of courses. Whether they want to learn more about wine or on how to start a business, the courses fill up quite evenly. Last year, Curious Courses Day had 200 participants, and tickets are sure to sell out quickly again this year...
Wissensdurst is Swiss-German for Curiosity
It was not curiosity that killed the cat, it was the ignorance of not knowing better. A little curiosity might have given the cat the knowledge to avoid its untimely death. Remember, the Swiss-German word for curiosity is Wissensdurst (a thirst for knowledge).
(All photographs copyright by Curious Courses)