Stefaan van Hooydonk – Keynote Speaker

Founder of the Global Curiosity Institute and author of the bestselling book: The Workplace Curiosity Manifesto

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Specialist Subjects

  • Curiosity: The Key Element for Creating a Winning Culture (For Senior Executives)
  • Leading with Curiosity (For People Managers)
  • Master Your Curiosity to Master Your Life (For Professionals)
  • The Power of Curiosity (For HR Professionals)
  • The Power of Curiosity in L&D (For Learning and Development Professionals)


  • English


Stefaan van Hooydonk is the founder of the Global Curiosity Institute. He consults global corporations, leadership teams, and individuals to help build stronger curiosity muscles. He helps them in baselining individual and workplace curiosity and supports them with designing and implementing intentional curiosity improvement projects and learning initiatives.

Stefaan started his career in investment consulting in China. From there he moved to set up the executive education arm of a major business school in Shanghai, China Europe International Business School (CEIBS), which he ran for 5 years. Subsequently, he set up global learning teams and innovative corporate universities for Nokia (China/Finland), Agfa Healthcare (Belgium), Philips (The Netherlands), Flipkart (India), Saudi Aramco (Saudi Arabia), and Cognizant (UK). His last role was that of Chief Learning Officer for Cognizant, where he oversaw learning and development for over 300k associates across the globe. He has been globally recognized for his innovative approach to learning, people, and technology.

Stefaan has a master’s degree in Economics and in Chinese, together with postgraduate degrees in Marxist Economics from China, Cross-Cultural Management from France, and an Executive MBA from Rutgers University. He is a certified executive coach. A Belgian national, Stefaan has been married for 25 years to Jeltje Peletier: a successful psycho- and yoga therapist. Together they have 4 children: Rik, Femke, Koen, and Menko. He practices meditation daily, is a marathon runner, and food forest amateur, and is pursuing a master’s degree in philosophy.

Popular Talks by Stefaan van Hooydonk

Curiosity: The Key Element for Creating a Winning Culture (For Senior Executives)

Every person is born with a healthy dose of curiosity. Some people can maintain this level through adulthood, many however see their original strength diminish over time. The same happens with systems like start-ups. Early start-ups have a high predisposition to exploration, only to see that this mindset deteriorates once the company expands, focuses on efficiency, conforms to rigid standards, and finds it harder to learn from mistakes.

Curious organisations are winning organisations. They are intentional about how they balance exploration and exploitation. Curious organizations are more successful than incurious ones, especially in times of change. Not only are they constantly looking for ways to improve their current operations, but they are also constantly scanning the industrial horizon for new opportunities.

In this interactive session, we explore what we know about curiosity, why it is important in our professional life and our organizations, and reflect on strategies to get better at it.

Leading with Curiosity (For People Managers)

The shadow a manager casts on the team is one of the biggest drivers of productivity, engagement, and the feeling of well-being of the team. Those managers who do this well, uplift the team. Those who don’t stifle it. The key to effective task management and people leadership is curiosity.

Curious leaders are good at operationalizing the present as well as securing the future. They create psychological safety for the team to thrive. Curious leaders represent a high level of cognitive, empathic, and self-reflective curiosity. They are curious about the

world around them, the people they work with, and their own internal conscious and unconscious drivers. They go out of their way to engage with their team, also in times of stress. They stretch their teams to excel in the present and embrace the future.

In this interactive session, we explore what we know about curiosity, why it is important for leaders, professionals, and teams, what the barriers are and what leaders can do to get better at intentional curiosity for themselves and the people in their care.

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