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Curtis Friedel Ph.D

Please could you briefly introduce yourself

  • I am an associate professor and Director of the Center for Cooperative Problem Solving, at Virginia Tech. I have a teaching and research appointment focused on problem solving and leading change.

  • Please could you give us a very brief introduction to the KAI measurement

    The KAI measures how one prefers to solve problems, either more adaptively or more innovatively. After completion of the KAI, one may better understand their own preference for solving problems, which is unrelated to intelligence, learned skills, motivation, EQ, situation, values, culture and ethnicity. One’s KAI score is connected to personality, and thus highly resistant to change. 

  • Listen to Curtis Friedel FRSA talk about KAI theory and the difference between adaption and innovation


  • Please could you tell us who or what has had the most significant influence on you in your life?

  • I attribute many things to growing up on a cattle ranch in Nebraska.

    How would you describe yourself in 3 adjectives?

    Patient, Curious, and Adaptable

    What motivates you?

    I am achievement oriented, so I always feel the need to build things.

    When we can travel again, what international destination would you most like to visit and why?

    My wife and I honeymooned in Iceland, and it was amazing! Would love to go back. 

    What was the last piece of art you purchased?

    Probably a print from Ansel Adams. I haven’t purchased a lot of art recently because my mother-in-law paints regularly.

    What work of art would you most like to own?

    I love paintings of the prairies.

    Which person (alive or dead) would you most like to have dinner with and why?

    This is a great question! I would say my Great-Great-Grandfather. I am curious to know more about him, like why did he come to the United States, and what was life like for him growing up in Germany. 

    What advice would you give to those aspiring to make a living out of selling their art in 2021?

    One way in that I think I can relate to an artist is that when I publish research, sometimes I think it is amazing, but no one is interested in it; and sometimes I don’t think much of a publication and it is tremendously popular. I can’t predict it! So, my advice is to put everything out there and let the customer decide. 

    What key piece of advice would you give your younger self?

    Don’t buy a house too soon.

    What is the most important thing to know about you?

    I believe that humility is the most important virtue one may have.

    Please tell us one unexpected thing about yourself.

    I went to a one-room school house growing up, and had one classmate until 7th grade.

    What are your aspirations for 2021?

    To get back into a routine with work, exercising, and family life.

    Any final words…..

    I am looking forward to our conversation!

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