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Curiosity is Your Biggest Competitive Advantage

Naira Musallam, PhD • 10 Oct 2019

“Curiosity is the most superficial of all of the affections; it changes its object perpetually; it has an appetite which is very sharp, but very easily satisfied; and it has always an appearance of giddiness, restlessness and anxiety”

- Edmond Burke, Irish Philosopher and Statesman

Throughout human history, curiosity has been a key element in our evolution. Curiosity has been recognized as a critical driver for learning, understanding, problem-solving, and innovating across all societal contexts ranging from child development, scientific discovery, and into the commercial realm.

George Loewenstein, an American educator and economist explained that curiosity arises when attention becomes focused on a gap in one’s knowledge. All of those information gaps produce a feeling of deprivation. This is an aversive psychological state, thus triggering motivation to find the missing knowledge.

Regardless of your business context, if you are curious, that means you are driven to explore, learn, and ultimately understand your respective audiences and the business challenges you face.

When a culture of curiosity exists amongst your consumer insights team, you ignite a thirst for knowledge, creating competitive advantages like those below: 

Asking “Why” 

Curiosity leads with “why”. 

As a direct result, you create the space and framework to ask questions to better understand, why your consumers are unsatisfied, why consumers prefer the products and services they do, why or consumers behave the way they do.


If you don’t know the classic story- the inspiration for the Polaroid instant camera was a result of a question posed by the 3-year-old daughter of the inventor Edwin Land, who got impatient to see a photo her father had just taken. When Edwin explained that the film needed to be processed, his daughter asked “why?”

Curiosity leads to challenging the business status quo and invites teams to disrupt and innovate.

Thorough Analysis 

Data is the most valuable commodity in your business-some say it’s the new oil. Yet the question remains, what do you do with it? 

Curiosity leads to the crucial practice of examining your data in numerous ways until some insight is uncovered.

It is no secret that while overall results are a useful signal, the value of your dataset comes to its fruition when you start dissecting and rotating it in new ways.

By applying a range of analytics to uncover those hidden gems that will drive business decisions, you turn that oil into digital gasoline for your business.  

But without curiosity, the analysis will fall flat.

Brilliant consumer insights teams and marketers will continue to lead the revolution in curiosity. 

They will hire talent with curiosity, they will develop the curiosity skill among their staff, they will create a culture of curiosity, all leading to a better and smarter world.



Naira Musallam, PhD

Naira Musallam, PhD

Naira the co-founder of SightX and our in-house expert for all things research, statistics, and psychology. She received her doctorate from Columbia University, and served as faculty at both Columbia and NYU. She has over 15 years of experience in data analysis and research across multiple sectors in various industries.

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