Anne-Lauren © Inge Harkema

If the Corona crisis makes something clear to us, it is that the solutions of the past no longer work for today’s problems. But to achieve those new solutions and create real innovations that benefit society, something has to change in the way we look at the world. Curiosity, the basis for everything we do at Innovation Origins, is crucial, as the research by Danae Bodewes also shows. In a series of interviews, she talks to curious types who each in their own way provide the building blocks for a curious life. Here is the complete series so far

When we talk about curious behavior, we like to refer to childlike curiosity and wonder. I, therefore, wondered how children experience their own curiosity.

Anne-Lauren (8) is a very curious girl. She is in group 5 at the time of the interview. Anne-Lauren is eloquent for a girl of eight and has clear ideas about her curiosity and the way she likes to learn.

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Two of my favorite quotes of Anne-Lauren are: “If you’re not curious, you learn everything in a stupid way.” And “For me, being curious is normal, because I do it quite often.” But she has more wise insights that she shares with us.

Who’s the most curious person you know?

My former teacher, she knows a lot. She said I’m very curious and so is she.

Are you curious?

Very much so. I want to know a lot, but some things I don’t want to know. I like to read books. My two favorite book characters are from Pages & Co, they live above a bookstore.

How does it feel to be curious?

That I’d like to know something right now. Sometimes it feels quite annoying and sometimes quite nice. I ask a lot of questions. It makes me a bit busy, but I can stay calm as well.

What do you like to do outside school? What do you think is the most important thing you’ve learned from this?

At my best friend’s house, playing in the street. She has other things to play with, and I make things up myself.

What’s a nice way for you to learn?

By explaining things in a fun way or by making a game out of it. Games are fun to do together. But on the phone, I also like to play a game on my own.

What do you find difficult and would you like to understand better? What would be the best way for you to learn more about this?

If I find something difficult, I’ll ask for help. When I find something too easy, I ask for more challenging assignments. I like working independently the most

Are there ever times when you would like to know something, but you don’t ask it or you don’t figure it out? How come?

At a funeral, because we had to be quiet.

Anne-Lauren on the day of the interview at the Van Abbemuseum. © Olwen Harkema

Where or when can you be totally curious? How come you can be so curious?

At my old teacher’s and at my aunt’s. They know a lot and sometimes they don’t.

What do you like best in school? And what’s the most important thing you’ve learned from this?

I like to chat with my friends from school. But I don’t learn anything from that. I learn most from schoolwork. I like spelling best.

What do you think about being curious?

I think it’s fine because sometimes it’s good for you. If you’re not curious, you learn everything in a stupid way. If you are curious you can get things explained in a fun way by asking. Or you can learn it without asking for it.

How about if someone else is curious?

Doesn’t matter, you can’t choose if you’re curious.

What’s the best thing you’ve done or discovered because you’re curious?

When my father is hungry and goes to the store alone, he buys a whole winter supply of food. And when he goes with his brother, he buys a year’s supply! We went to the HANOS together and we hadn’t bought much, so that was okay. I also like new food, but with animals like hare, I think ‘yikes!’

Do you find yourself more or less curious than before?

Just as curious.

What do others think about you being curious?

I think they’ll like it. They don’t always notice it either. For me, being curious is normal, because I do it quite often. I also think a lot, which stays inside myself, I don’t always say it out loud.

What would change in your life if you were suddenly no longer curious?

That would be stupid. A lot would change. When I would go to a museum, I’d find it very boring and stupid. Other people would think: what happened to her? She’s acting weird!

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About the author

Author profile picture Researcher at Fontys Lectorate Business Entrepreneurship. Themes: entrepreneurship education, curiosity, informal and non-formal learning. What does a lifetime of curiosity look like? In a series of portraits called "Curious Types", she gives a face to curiosity, entrepreneurship, informal and non-formal learning.