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.
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 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 session, we will 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.
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 crisis. 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. Every participant will be invited to do a curiosity assessment and will get a report on their individual curiosity profile.
“Super thanks for a truly inspiring, enriching, and thought-provoking session!”
Rita Vanhauwenhuyse - VP, Customer Experience and Insights | Executive Networks
“It was wonderful meeting you again Stefaan! Your session was the most insightful at the London Learning Technologies 2022 conference.”
Saurav Jaiswal - Founder and Managing Director of Innostrat Technologies
“Dear Stefaan, I have just viewed the recorded version of the session about Curiosity. I was overwhelmed by its color and preciseness. Many of the aspects that were brought forward are on our agenda, and the research you presented gives us confidence that we are on the right track. Also, the simplicity you used in describing forces, behaviors, etc. really appealed to me. And the Individual/Team/Organization perspectives align well with the way we understand Lifelong learning in the company context. This session is really valuable for us. Thank you so much for making the effort!”
Britta Börjeson - Head of Learning Expertise - Volvo Group University
"Stefaan has proven an excellent speaker choice at the events I chair. He is clearly deeply knowledgeable about workplace curiosity and is able to share his expertise in an engaging way with his audience. He backs this up with his global experience as a Chief Learning Officer in large corporations, which provides real gravitas and credibility. There's no doubt that Stefaan is providing leading thinking and practice in this field and I have no hesitation in recommending him."
Donald H. Taylor - Chair of London Technology Conference
“Stefaan has been moderating and speaking at several of our HRcoreEVENTS and has proven to be an exceptional added value. His passion, purpose, and personality make him connect with the audience, keeps them engaged, and inspires action.”
Michael Nielsen - Managing Director At HRcoreEVENTS by TENEO
“Stefaan van Hooydonk spoke at our global summits for over 150 learning and development professionals. Feedback was overwhelmingly positive. Many conference delegates stated that they found Stefaan very poignant and that his message was timely and something the industry wanted to hear. We would not hesitate to invite Stefaan to speak again at our summits, across diverse geographical locations, as he also brings a global outlook having worked in different locations amongst the greatest industry leaders.”
Vassilis Theocharides - Associate Director, Global Association for Talent Development
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