Blogs by InnovatorsBox®

Meet Your Dear Friends: Curiosity, Courage, and Creativity

If you could play with ‘creativity’, ‘courage’, and ‘curiosity’ as friends, what would they look like and how would they show up in your life? Where would they live? What kind of personality would they have? The answer for every innovator will be different, as it should be. Our three best pals come in a variety of sizes and forms, and they’re absolutely irreplaceable in our lives. Regardless of their differences in appearance, I hope we remember how to value these treasured companions who are always with us, eager to share new insights in our everyday lives.

Today, I’m thrilled to formally introduce you to these three friends from InnovatorsBox’s universe! Can you guess who they are? You may have already seen a glimpse of them in our illustrations as well as my books my new second edition Rethink Creativity: How to Innovate, Inspire and Thrive at Work with new illustrated work, and my first children’s book Have You Seen My Friends? But in this blog, I’ll take a deeper dive into formerly welcoming you to the IB Universe and share why we wanted to build these three characters in your journey as an innovator.

THE FRIENDS

The three friends each represent the three values that are so essential to an innovator’s journey.

Meet Q, our curious monkey who is inquisitive and silly. He is full of questions. He sees endless possibilities. Don’t tell him what he can and cannot do. Ask “Why?” and his response will nearly always be “Why not?” He is eager to learn and explore, and he is convinced that there is always a new or a different way to try.

Meet O, our courageous owl who is brave and wise. She listens. She wonders. She is always looking to go the extra mile out of her comfort zone, trusting that courage will always help her see and learn something new.

Meet M, our creative rabbit who brings out colors out of everyone. She is playful. She is energetic. She is always finding new possibilities when others feel stuck. And she understands how you feel.

We are excited to go on these adventures of learning, discovering, reflecting, and understanding this workplace and world from the lens of curiosity, courage, and creativity – with them and with you.

THE WHY

Characters are a powerful way to visualize important meanings. One of the biggest challenges many leaders face is how intangible culture, leadership, and team building can feel to the eye

How do you measure and understand what it is if you don’t know how to measure and evaluate curiosity, creativity, courage, kindness, humility, and more? What one sees as creativity may not be the same for another. This is why, often in my coaching and client consultation, we do a visualization activity to envision what it would look like to understand that point of view but also making those invisible-looking essential voices feel more real.

Visualization is a powerful activity I love doing that I recommend everyone to do more of each day. It’s long been used in sports and goal setting as we think about where we want to be in the future.

“If my mind can conceive it and my heart can believe it – then I can achieve it.”

Muhammad Ali

But I’m going a step further. When we could visualize our feelings, values, and voices, we could also understand, see, and find them more easily. 

When you’re about to try something new and reach out to that voice of courage, how does that voice sound to you? What would it say to you and what would its name be? When you’re feeling crushed and that fear voice triggers your imposter syndrome even more, what does that fear voice look like to you? When does it seem to show up and how does that make you feel? Giving these voices a character, name, story, and image reminds us that they are not invisible. They are friends and details that help us be who we are as a person. 

As Brené Brown shares in her work, when you work with shame and fear, calling it out and giving it a nickname is a wonderful way to humanize and normalize those emotions Brené says, don’t let those voices “drive the car,” they can take the backseat and express themselves while your real voice takes the lead. 

This is why, when I work with innovators to rediscover and find their creativity, I often visualize the journey they go on to find their lost friends. Where would they have last hung out with their friends? Why have they lost them? What would help them find them again? When we frame it that way, creativity, courage and curiosity no longer feel like some foreign concept. They are friends. And having had lost them points to the fact hat we already had them! Just have to take the time to look for them again, and treasure them when we find them back!

THE HOW

I thought a lot about why I LOVE KaKao Friends, Disney, Pixar, Ghibli Studios, or any animation and it was always that the characters were able to represent and make others feel something consistent that they could relate to. How can we present creativity, courage, and curiosity and encourage them to feel creative, courageous, and curious? Being a huge fan of characters my whole life, building characters for InnovatorsBox was a long time coming. I’ve wanted to do this since year one, but we were not mature as a company, nor did I have detailed thoughts on how this may manifest. But now we could. 

In the initial development process, I wanted to devise a visual that I would personally relate to but also many others. I toyed with the idea of potentially making it a mini monster series but decided to go with the animal creation as there were many characteristics of an animal that everyone could resonate with and relate from its symbolic presentation. (Though you may see some friendly creative monster friends in the different universes we visit. They are very nice friends.) I settled on these animals to represent these voices, most importantly because of the layered meanings they could provide – they are not who you may think they may be.

Often when we think of creativity, courage, and curiosity in the workplace, we think of the big “C” – creativity, and the big “I” – Innovation. The mega creativity that flips everyone’s work schedule to a new way of working. The mega innovation that leaves a lifetime impact and company-wide changes. Those are certainly celebrate-worthy, but so are all the daily small doses of creativity and innovation. 

In truth, it’s the everyday creativity and innovation moments that lead to new unexpected powerful discoveries as well as joy in life. If we feel like we could only be creative, courageous, and curious in those big innovation meetings and not in everyday life routine, we are missing out! 

Reframe that to this – when we are being selective as to when we can be creative, courageous, and curious, it’s like being selective about when we get to sleep well, treat ourselves to a nice meal, or take care of ourselves. Making space for curiosity, courage, and creativity is an act of care. By seeing these friends as a friend, you could easily cuddle, relate to, and go on the long journey together with, I hope it encourages others to see how important it is we treasure these values every day, not just on those special moments. You deserve to enjoy each day and make the most out of it!!

Let’s dive a bit deeper. I’ll be curious if you noticed these details…

  • Creativity: A rabbit may often come across as being quiet, naive, and weak, but it is extremely fast, a great listener, nimble, agile, and able to adapt. (Ok, I admit. I’m also a rabbit year in the zodiac family and have a special attachment to how I feel about rabbits.) 
  • Courage: An owl is often seen as wise, gentle with the Greek mythology reference but it’s also a great listener, wants to try a lot of new things which takes courage, and navigating different hours and fields to make itself home. 
  • Curiosity: A monkey is goofy but is surely a curious being. I did grow up loving the Curious George series and admired learning how the monkey’s adventurousness and boldness come from it wanting to learn and explore.

That being said, when I ask you “How do creativity, courage, and curiosity look to you?” you may have a different image or characteristic in mind. And that’s wonderful! There is no one form, this is just one way of how we are excited to present and get to know these three friends with you as you go on your adventures and journey as an innovator.

This is just the beginning. I can’t wait to introduce you to the universe we are building at InnovatorsBox so that you could envision what it’s like to live and be creative every day no matter where you work or live. And how you could bring that energy back to your lives and communities. 

Oh, and you may notice future friends like patience and humility. Anyone else we should consider inviting to the party? Let us know! 

For now, I thank you for warmly welcoming these friends back into your life. They have always been with you and they are hungry to get your attention. If you feel you haven’t been with them in a long time, no worries. They are waiting for you to hear their voices near you. The key is when you seek it you will find it – as I share both in my books Rethink Creativity: How to Innovate, Inspire and Thrive at Work and my children’s book Have You Seen My Friends?, which I know you’ll love reading. 

While you’re reading and venturing into the world of creativity, I want to put a plug for another favorite book of mine that inspired me throughout my journey in search of the essentials that are invisible – The Little Prince By Antoine de Saint-Exupery.

“If my mind can conceive it and my heart can believe it – then I can achieve it.”

From the book, The Little Prince.

Antoine de Saint-Exupery

This quote is one of the many reasons why The Little Prince is one of my favorite books. I’ve become a collector and have collected 20+ language versions as I travel to treasure the multiple layers this book carries. The fable of the little prince discovering key life lessons taught me how to treasure the essentials that were invisible to the eyes – mindset, feelings, curiosity, and values. 

And if you are walking away with at least one thing from this blog, I hope it’s a reminder that your friends exist. And though they may feel invisible, they are essential and are always near you. They are waiting for you and can’t wait to hear from you. We can’t wait to live in that limitless land of abundance with you and with our three friends together. It’s never too late.

Thank you for welcoming creativity, courage and curiosity!

About the Author

Monica H. Kang

Monica H. Kang

Monica H. Kang, Founder, and CEO of InnovatorsBox® and Author of Rethink Creativity is transforming today’s workforce through the power of creativity. She helps companies rethink culture, leadership, and team development by making creativity practical and relatable regardless of industry or job title. She has worked with clients worldwide including Fortune 500 companies, higher education, government, and nonprofits. Monica’s work has been recognized by The White House, Ashoka Changemakers, National Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSDC), and Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC). Prior to InnovatorsBox®, Monica was a nuclear nonproliferation policy expert. She holds an M.A. from SAIS Johns Hopkins University in Strategic Studies and International Economics and a B.A. from Boston University.

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